HC blasts govt on rape com­pen­sa­tion Court em­bar­rasses state, say­ing it hasn’t ap­plied its mind to Man­od­hairya scheme

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI - STAFF RE­PORTER

In an em­bar­rass­ment to the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment, the Bom­bay High Court on Thurs­day ap­pointed a three­mem­ber com­mit­tee for for­mu­lat­ing a com­pre­hen­sive scheme for com­pen­sat­ing vic­tims of rape and acid at­tacks. This comes af­ter the HC ob­served that the govern­ment mod­i­fied the ex­ist­ing Man­od­hairya scheme with­out ‘ap­ply­ing its mind.’

A di­vi­sion bench of Chief Jus­tice Man­jula Chel­lur and Jus­tice Nitin Jam­dar ob­served, “Prima fa­cie we are of the opin­ion that the govern­ment has just not ap­plied its mind while mod­i­fy­ing the scheme. There seems to be no ra­tio­nale. The govern­ment must un­der­stand that this is a se­ri­ous is­sue and it can­not deal with it in this man­ner.”

The judges heard a batch of pe­ti­tions chal­leng­ing the mod­i­fied Man­od­hairya scheme point­ing out sev­eral flaws. The pe­ti­tion­ers high­lighted the ma­jor flaws like the con­cept of dis­burs­ing only 25 per cent amount and keep­ing re­main­ing 75 per cent amount in a bank as a Fixed De­posit (FD) for at least 10 years. The pe­ti­tion­ers also pointed out that in case of mi­nors, the scheme con­tem­plates to keep the amount as a FD for 20 odd years.

Hav­ing heard all the con­tentions, CJ Chel­lur said, “We are of the view that the govern­ment has only ap­plied its mind in terms of money and not the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the girl. We fail to un­der­stand as to what how the girl would be re­ha­bil­i­tated with such a mea­gre amount. Also, how much in­ter­est would the girls get from the FDs.”

Some of the pe­ti­tion­ers also in­formed the judges that as per the re­vised scheme, if a girl dies in a rape or sex­ual as­sault, then her kin can get Rs. 1 lakh as com­pen­sa­tion but at the same time if a girl sus­tains griev­ous in­juries and un­der­goes men­tal trauma, then she gets Rs 10 lakh com­pen­sa­tion.

Hav­ing heard the sub­mis­sions, CJ Chel­lur said, “We are of the opin­ion that we must find a fi­nal so­lu­tion to this since it is a very se­ri­ous is­sue. We think that the scheme needs to be re­vised again es­pe­cially for cer­tain as­pects like the quan­tum of com­pen­sa­tion, the pe­riod within which the com­pen­sa­tion would be given etc.”

Ac­cord­ingly, the judges con­sti­tuted a Com­mit­tee com­pris­ing of two sit­ting judges of the HC—Jus­tice Mridula Bhatkar and Jus­tice Girish Kulka­rni. The third mem­ber in the com­mit­tee would be the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary of the Women and Child Wel­fare Depart­ment.

This com­mit­tee would now study all the as­pects of the is­sue and also con­sult all the stake­hold­ers like NGOs, ac­tivists and also other peo­ple and in­sti­tu­tions work­ing in this field. The com­mit­tee will have to sub­mit its re­port to the bench headed by CJ Chel­lur.

The pe­ti­tion­ers high­lighted the ma­jor flaws like the con­cept of dis­burs­ing only 25% amount and keep­ing re­main­ing 75 per cent amount in a bank as FD

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