ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Only Intentions, No Practice

Compensation schemes for rape and acid attack survivors look good only on paper.

The recent Supreme Court ruling laying down a mandatory scheme for financial compensation for survivors of sexual assault and acid attacks was long overdue. Yet, the experience of the implementation of similar schemes in different states and that of the one-stop rape crisis centres in the country, illustrates how cumbersome documentation, bureaucratic insen­sitivity and societal indifference create almost insurmountable hurdles. For instance, only 123 rape survivors in nine states have received financial aid from the Nirbhaya Fund established in 2013, according to advocate Indira Jaising. According to the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), barely 5% to 10% of sexual assault survivors had received compensation across the country under similar schemes.

The Court made it clear that the money granted under the scheme is not linked with the trial in such cases and the survivor can approach the state or district legal services authority for compen­sation immediately after the incident. The legal services authority can take suo motu cognisance of sexual assault and acid attack cases to grant interim relief to victims. Applicable to all states and union territories, a minimum of ₹5 lakh to a maximum of ₹10 lakh is to be paid in the case of rape and loss of life, or gang rape. In between this range are situated cases of rape, unnatural sexual assault, 80% permanent disability, and grievous physical injury. In the case of acid attacks, the compensation ranges from ₹5 lakh to ₹7 lakh depending on the extent of injuries. While ₹1 lakh should be paid within a fortnight of the attack, ₹2 lakh should be given every two months. Compensatory amounts to minors in both cases are to be 50% higher.

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Updated On : 29th May, 2018
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