NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the absence of a national compensation policy for providing adequate relief to rape survivors, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to formulate a policy in this regard at the earliest.
“Different States have different schemes. There is no national plan as how the rape victims are to be compensated. Setting up of the Nirbhaya Fund is not enough and it is just paying a lip service. The Union of India must ensure that adequate relief is being provided to the victims of sexual offences,” a vacation Bench of Justice P C Pant and Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
The court also issued notice to the Centre, all States and Union Territories seeking their responses on the effective implementation of Section 357(A) of the CrPC and status of victim compensation schemes along with the number of victims of rape who have been compensated.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, said that the implementation of the ‘Victim Compensation Scheme’ is a matter of concern as only 25 out of 29 States have notified the scheme.
“There is complete lack of uniformity in the said schemes and the States have not yet indicated whether appropriate funds have been allocated in pursuance to the notification of the said schemes as well as the number of rape victims who have been compensated under the said schemes,” she said, adding that some States pay `10 lakh as compensation while few others pay as less as `50,000 to such survivors. Agreeing with the submissions by Jaising, the Bench noted that there was lack of uniformity in such schemes and said that there are some States, which even provide compensation to victims of sexual offences just on registration of the FIRs.
“Some States even provide interim compensation to sexual offence victims of a particular class just on registration of FIR. Delhi has different scheme, UP has different one. There has to be some national model on this,” the Bench observed.
Jaising also sought implementation of Witness Protection Program Schemes saying that in most of the rape cases the acquittal rate is very high.
“It is because of two reasons, one is that witnesses are turning hostile and the second is the delay in trial due to which witnesses lose their interest in cases,” she said.
Jaising also raised concerns over various other issues like setting up of one-stop crisis centres in every district for rape survivors saying only 14 out of the 653 districts have so far complied with the scheme.
There is no national plan on how rape victims are to be compensated. Setting up of the Nirbhaya Fund is not enough and it is just paying lip service m Supreme Court