Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Implementation Of Schemes For Compensation Of Sexual Assault Victims
The Supreme Court has issued notice on a plea seeking expeditious disbursal of compensation as per Rule 9 of the NALSA Scheme of 2018. The plea also seeks direction to the states and union territories to give wide publicity to the Scheme and implement the scheme in letter and spirit, including uniformity in procedures and amount of compensation.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala issued notice.
Advocate-On-Record Jyotika Kalra appeared on behalf of the petitioner and submitted that the petitioner is engaged in the protection of victims of sexual violence. She submitted that there is inconsistency in the scheme framed by the NALSA.
The Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar had approached the Apex Court for enforcement of the fundamental rights of victims of sexual violence guaranteed under the Constitution, the victim compensation scheme under section 357A CrPC and NALSA’s Compensation Scheme for Women and Victims/Survivors of the Sexual Assault/other Crimes-2018.
According to a study based on annual reports of the National Crime Reports Bureau, rape-related crime rate in India rose 70.7% over the last two decades from 11.6 per 100,000 women and girls in 2001 to 19.8 in 2018, the plea said.
The plea raises the issue that many States have not amended their victim compensation schemes as per NALSA Scheme of 2018. As per the plea, the non-inclusion of offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in definition of Sexual Assault Victims, enabling only victims and their dependants (omitting Guardians) to file applications, results in the re-victimization of the victims.
The petition prays that “Sexual Assault Victims” as defined in Rule 1(o) of the NALSA Scheme of 2018 should include offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
For example in Bihar & Delhi, Form I is required to be filled which for the poor and uneducated is a hurdle in accessing justice. In Madhya Pradesh & UP an application on behalf of the victim is sufficient, the plea says.
The plea sought that inquiry should be completed within 60 days and there should be Immediate/time bound disbursal of compensation/ Interim Financial Relief as per the NALSA Scheme of 2018.
Cause Title- Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar v. Union of India & Ors.