Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

SC seeks states’ stand on victim compensation, witness protection schemes

The courts direction came on a batch of petitions relating to safety of women in the aftermath of gangrape of a young medical student on 16 December 2012

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from various states over steps taken towards victim compensation, witness protection schemes and setting up of one-stop crisis centres for protection of victims of sexual crimes.

The courts direction came on a batch of petitions relating to safety of women in the aftermath of gangrape of a young medical student on 16 December 2012.

Indira Jaisingh, senior advocate, who has been appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case told the court that not all states have put in place a victim compensation scheme and that there was a wide variation in the amounts being paid by each state under their respective scheme.

“The amount given under the compensation scheme by the state of Goa is the highest, at 10 lakh, while others range from anything between Rs. 25,000-50,000." she said.

In view of this gap in compensation under individual schemes of each state, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud suggested the formulation of a national victim compensation scheme as it would help to mitigate such differences.

While addressing the problem of women safety and security, the court questioned the Centre in the manner in which funds from the Nirbhaya fund set up exclusively for safety of women were being allocated to the states to set up one-stop crisis centres for protection of victims of sexual assault.

Regarding this, the court was informed that nearly 2,000 crore was lying in the fund which was created for women safety and could be used for setting up additional one-stop crisis centres by states. A total of 14 one-stop crisis centres had been set up so far.

Jaisingh also submitted to the court reply on various RTIs questioning the status of states which had a victim compensation scheme in place and number of cases where the compensation had been given by each state.

States, including Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand were among states where a victim compensation scheme was in place while states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh were among others, which do not currently have their own scheme.

Apart from this, there were seven cases where compensation had been granted in Delhi, three in Karanataka, and one in Rajasthan, RTI applications revealed.

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