Centre, NALSA fix compensation for rape, acid attack victims

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NEW DELHI, May 11: Coming to the aid of poor women who face financial hardship after dehumanising sexual assault or a severe trauma like an acid attack, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in consultation with the Centre has drawn up a relief policy offering minimum amount of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7 lakh respectively.
NALSA’s comprehensive scheme sets out the minimum amount as relief for gang rape and rape cases. The “compensation scheme for women victims/survivors of sexual assault/other crimes” has been prepared on an order of the apex court that sought ‘model rules’ to provide succour to women victims and their family members, particularly the poor and residents of rural areas lacking resources to fight legal battles.
As per the scheme, a minimum Rs 5 lakh is to be paid in case of loss of life or gang rape of a victim and maximum has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh. A minimum amount of Rs 4 lakh is to be paid in case of rape or unnatural sexual assault. For the loss of any limb or part of the body resulting in 80% of permanent disability, Rs 2 lakh is to be given and Rs 2 lakh in case of grievous physical injury. The scheme is binding on all states.
For loss of foetus or miscarriage, minimum compensation is Rs 2 lakh. Interestingly, the scheme says that if a woman victim is covered under more categories of the schedule, she shall be entitled for the total value of compensation. If a gang rape victim dies, her family members would be entitled for a minimum Rs 10 lakh – Rs 5 lakh for loss of life and Rs 5 lakh for the offence of gang rape.
At present, different state governments grant varying amounts to rape survivors ranging from minimum Rs 10,000 in Odisha to Rs 10 lakh in Goa. Maharashtra is the only state which has not framed rules. As the amount of compensation varies in different states, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Thursday approved the scheme in principle.
“Victims in different states cannot be compensated differently. It makes no difference where the victim has been raped. The amount of compensation must be the same across the country,” the bench said. It also said that maximum compensation would not be capped and the state government would be at liberty to pay more to the victims beyond the minimum amount fixed under the scheme.
In case of victims of burning and acid attacks, the minimum compensation will be Rs 7 lakh for total disfigurement and Rs 5 lakh in case of 50% burns. It says that Rs 1 lakh shall be paid within 15 days to an acid attack victim and thereafter Rs 2 lakh within two months.
The compensation granted to a minor victim will be 50% higher than the above fixed amount. Simplifying the process to get compensation, a victim of her family member can approach with a copy of FIR and medical report to state or district legal services authority which would immediately release a sum of Rs 5,000 to her. (TNN)