SC Accepts Compensation Scheme For Survivors Of Sexual Assault And Acid Attack [Read Order]

SC Accepts Compensation Scheme For Survivors Of Sexual Assault And Acid Attack [Read Order]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the Scheme on Victim Compensation for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Acid Attack, 2018.

The scheme was submitted to a Bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and a Committee comprising officers of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, the Department of Legal Affairs, and the National Commission for Women.

Noting that there were no objections against the scheme after it was put up on NALSA's website, the Court directed the Centre as well as the State and the Union Territories to give wide publicity to the scheme and to implement it in letter and spirit.

The counsel representing the parties were, however, enquired about the viability of modifying the scheme to make it applicable to victims of child sexual abuse as well. Amicus curiae Senior Advocate Indira Jaising then assured the Court that she will look into the matter and advice the Court accordingly within two weeks. She also agreed to file an affidavit elaborating on the rationale for the Scheme as far as women and children are concerned. The matter has now been listed on 10 August.

The Court is hearing a bunch of petitions which were filed after the Nirbhaya gang-rape, raising concerns over safety and security of women. Several directions have since been issued on the petitions from time to time.

One such order was passed in January this year, directing all States and UTs to file an affidavit within four weeks, specifying the amount received by them under the Nirbhaya Fund towards victim compensation, and the amount disbursed from the fund to victims of sexual assault.

The Court had, however, noted on 15 February that 24 States had failed to file such information. Thereafter, on 9 March, NALSA had put up a notice on its website, inviting suggestions on the Model “Victim Compensation for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Acid Attach – 2018”. Fourteen responses were then received from the State Legal Services Authorities, after which, a nine-member committee was formed to prepare the model scheme.

This committee comprised of Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, Secretary of Ministry of Women and Child Development Rakesh Srivastava, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs Advocate T.V.S.N. Prasad, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, Member Secretary of NALSA Alok Agarwal, Director of NALSA Surinder S. Rathi, Joint Secretary of Department of Legal Affairs Anju Rathi Rana, Joint Secretary of National Commission for Women K.L. Sharma, and Co-Director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights Bharti Ali.

The Court had approved this scheme on 11 May, directing, "We have gone through the Scheme prepared by NALSA with the assistance of learned amicus curiae and we are of the view that it contains the best practices of all similar schemes and should be implemented by all the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations."

The same day, it had clarified that the scheme postulates only the minimum requirements, and hence, it does not preclude the States and the UT Administrations from adding to the same. It had, however, made it clear that nothing should be taken away from the scheme.

Read the Order Here