HC forms panel to check la­cu­nae in Man­od­hairya scheme

The Hitavada - - NATION -

THE Bom­bay High Court on Thurs­day said there was no ra­tio­nale and proper ap­pli­ca­tion of mind in the re­cent mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the Man­od­hairya scheme, which pro­vides com­pen­sa­tion to vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault and acid at­tack.

A di­vi­sion bench of Chief Jus­tice Man­jula Chel­lur and Jus­tice N M Jam­dar set up a three-mem­ber com­mit­tee com­pris­ing two judges of the High Court and prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary of the state’s women and child wel­fare depart­ment to hear stake­hold­ers and come up with a model and com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy.

The court was hear­ing a bunch of pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tions (PILs) chal­leng­ing the mod­i­fi­ca­tions made to the Man­od­hairya scheme in Au­gust this year.

“We don’t think the State Govern­ment has ap­plied its mind be­fore mod­i­fy­ing the scheme. There seems to be no ra­tio­nale. Such a scheme should have a pur­pose and should be ap­pre­cia­tive,” Chief Jus­tice Chel­lur said.

One of the pe­ti­tion­ers has ar­gued that in the mod­i­fied scheme, 75 per cent of the mone­tary com­pen­sa­tion awarded to the vic­tim has to be kept in a fixed de­posit for a pe­riod of 10 years and the re­main­ing 25 per cent will be given to the vic­tim.

In case the vic­tim is a mi­nor then the mod­i­fied scheme States that the amount will be kept in a fixed de­posit for 20 years. The max­i­mum in­terim com­pen­sa­tion can­not be more than Rs 25,000.

Re­fer­ring to this, Chief Jus­tice Chel­lur said, “What is a vic­tim go­ing to do with this Rs 25,000? What in­ter­est will the girl get from the money kept in fixed de­posit? For the sake of giv­ing money you (Govern­ment) can­not do this. It seems that the Govern­ment has ap­plied its mind only on the money part.”

“This is a se­ri­ous is­sue and we need to find a so­lu­tion to this once and for all. Hav­ing re­gard to the mod­i­fied scheme and in par­tic­u­lar as­pects, like the quan­tum of com­pen­sa­tion, the time taken for dis­burse­ment and the us­age of the same we are of the opin­ion that there is cer­tainly need for re- vis­i­ta­tion,” the chief jus­tice said.

“We di­rect for a com­mit­tee to be set up com­pris­ing Jus­tices Mridula Bhatkar and Girish Kulka­rni and the prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary of women and child wel­fare depart­ment,” she said.

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