Right To Live Life With Dignity Breached: Uttarakhand HC Orders State To Pay ₹35 Lakh Compensation To Acid Attack Victim
The Uttarakhand High Court while allowing a writ petition filed by the acid attack victim has directed the State Government to pay a sum of Rs. 35,00,000/- to the petitioner on the account of a breach of the Fundamental Right to live life with dignity under the Constitution.
A Single Bench of Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra ordered –
"Keeping in view all the aspects, this Court comes to the conclusion that a sum of Rs. 35,00,000/- would be just, proper and adequate compensation to the petitioner in addition to the amount already paid to her. Petitioner should also be given some vocational training if she is willing to undertake, as it is brought to the notice of this Court that in the meantime, the petitioner has completed her Post Graduation and Diploma in Mass Communication and now doing a job with Flipkart. In addition to the aforesaid amount of compensation and vocational training, the State Government shall also provide free medical treatment to the petitioner, as it is also brought to our notice that petitioner has to undergo further surgeries, which require skin grafting. In case, hospitals situated and operating in the State of Uttarakhand, do not have proper technology, equipments or doctors to carry out the surgeries that is require to be meted out to her, then the State of Uttarakhand shall be under an obligation to get her treated in any hospital at New Delhi or in PGI, Chandigarh."
The Bench further directed that the entire expenses of the petitioner for operation, travelling, and stay shall be borne by the State of Uttarakhand and that the Member Secretary, UKSLSA is directed to release and transfer a sum of Rs. 35,00,000/- in the name of the petitioner through RTGS / NEFT after the expiry of the limitation for filing the intra court appeal.
Advocate Snigdha Tiwari appeared on behalf of the petitioner/ victim.
Additional CSC Ajay Singh Bisht appeared for the respondent/ State.
In this matter, the petitioner being an acid attack survivor prayed for the compensation of Rs. 50,00,000/- for the losses suffered. She also prayed for the issuance of a writ of Mandamus for making a comprehensive rehabilitation scheme and to pay directly to the Hospitals for future expenses to be incurred by her in medical procedures that might be taken.
The petitioner was attacked with acid in the year 2014 in which she received third-degree burn injuries on her face and chest. She sustained 60% burn injuries on her upper body and knee and lost her right ear. The accused, who attacked the petitioner with acid, was convicted and sentenced to undergo 10 years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 20,000/- under Section 326- A of the IPC by the Sessions Judge and while convicting the accused, the Sessions Judge referred the matter to District Legal Services Authority for payment of compensation. A sum of Rs. 1,60,000/- was given by District Programme Officer in compliance with an order passed by Criminal Injury Compensation Board under the Uttarakhand Victim from Crime Assistance Scheme, 2013. By virtue of the interim order passed by the Coordinate Bench of the High Court, an additional compensation of Rs. 1,50,000/- was granted to her.
The High Court while considering the aforesaid facts noted, "In this case, the Court takes into consideration that there is a breach of fundamental right of the victim petitioner, who is acid attack survivor. The right to live life with dignity has been breached in this case."
The Court further agreed with the opinion of the Member Secretary, SLSA that a sum of Rs. 23,00,000/- be paid to the petitioner, and in the light of Section 19 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Government may provide some vocational training programme to the acid attack victims and may motivate with all possible logistic support to start a business by the victim, as self-employment.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition and provided compensation to the victim.
Cause Title – Gulnaaz Khan v. State of Uttarakhand and others