The Calcutta High Court has ordered the State of West Bengal to pay the compensation of Rs. 7 lakhs to the minor who was a victim of trafficking and rape.

A Single Bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya on April 26 directed, “… this court is of the view that the petitioner/victim before the court cannot be asked to wait until the funds are sanctioned by the State Government and reach the Judicial Department. The State shall hence pay a sum of Rs.7 lacs to the petitioner within seven days from date and file a compliance report in the form of an affidavit on the next date of hearing.”

The Bench on May 4 has listed the matter for the next hearing on May 11, 2023.

“Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that the petitioner has been informed that the compensation amount has been despatched by the State Government but the petitioner is yet to receive the amount”, said the Court in its order dated May 4.

Advocate Kaushik Gupta appeared for the petitioner while Advocates Debasish Ghosh and Soma Chowdhary appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner was a minor and a victim of trafficking and rape who was aggrieved by an order passed by the District Legal Services Authority, North 24 Parganas, Barasat, by which the petitioner’s appeal from the first order was dismissed. To explain the cause of the petitioner’s grievance, the 1st Court had computed the interim compensation payable to the petitioner under the West Bengal Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017 and the schedule appended thereto for an amount of Rs. 1,25,000/- for rape and Rs. 25,000/- for sexual assault.

The petitioner challenged the aforesaid order before the appellate authority which is the DLSA and the appellate authority agreed with the view taken by the 1st Court and held that the petitioner’s compensation would be in accordance with the 2017 Scheme and the appellate authority was hence not inclined to interfere with the said order.

On April 19, the High Court in the above regard noted, “Learned counsel appearing for the NALSA submits that the State of West Bengal is the only State which is yet to implement the NALSA’s Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other Crimes, 2018. … The State is represented. Since this is a serious issue, learned counsel is directed to take instructions in the matter and file an affidavit containing the instructions on the returnable date.”

Accordingly, the Court directed State to pay compensation to the petitioner.

Cause Title- X(Redacted) v. The State of West Bengal & Ors.

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