A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi of the Bombay High Court pulled up the Maharashtra government for delaying the decision regarding grant of compensation to rape, acid attack and child abuse victims under the Manodhairya Scheme retrospectively. The bench is hearing a PIL filed by father of a rape victim.
Under the said scheme, the state government had decided to pay a maximum compensation of Rs three lakh to rape victims and other women who are victims of violence against them. Manodhairya Scheme was launched on October 2, 2013, it envisages compensation as well as rehabilitation of rape survivors and acid attack victims. Besides this scheme, the Maharashtra government had framed the Victim Compensation Scheme under Section 357 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure which came into force in April 2014.
Now, in the case of Laxmi v. Union of India, the apex court had held that state must ensure that free treatment is provided to victims of acid attack and a certificate can be issued by the concerned hospital. “This certificate may be utilized by the victim for treatment and reconstructive surgeries or any other scheme that the victim may be entitled to with the State Government or the Union Territory, as the case may be” said SC’s order.
On the basis of this judgement, in the case of Aarti Thakur v. State of Maharashtra, another bench of the Bombay High Court had directed the state to grant compensation to the victim retrospectively.
Appearing for the state, assistant public prosecutor Mankhuwar Deshmukh informed the bench today that an exception was made in the case of Aarti Thakur and the compensation was provided under the Victim Compensation Scheme as funds under the scheme are provided by the centre, however the state government has to provide funds under the Manodhairya scheme, hence due to lack of sufficient funds, the state would be unable to to extend the provisions of Manodhairya scheme with retrospective effect in the present case.
Court expressed its displeasure in the matter and insisted that state government was obligated under the said scheme to compensate such victims.
Court observed- “You are obligated to help these victims. It is your duty to ensure that they get proper counselling soon after the FIR is lodged and financial help is extended to them. You are not doing charity or doing them any favour by helping them”.
This case will now be heard next week.
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