HC forms panel to check lacunae in Manodhairya scheme
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.