Frame uniform scheme to compensate rape victims, SC tells states

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday directed all state governments and union territory administrations to formulate a “uniform scheme” for compensation to victims of rape and sexual exploitation on the lines of one framed by Goa.

“All the states and union territories shall make all endeavour to formulate a uniform scheme for providing victim compensation in respect of rape/sexual exploitation with the physically handicapped women as required under the law …” said a bench comprising Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice Arun Mishra in their judgmenty.

The court said that uniform scheme of victim compensation should take into consideration “the scheme framed by the state of Goa for rape victim compensation”, as it noted different states and union territories had a lot of variation – Goa paying Rs.10 lakh compensation, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh a “paltry amount” of Rs.50,000 and Maharashtra none.

The direction came as the court dismissed a plea by Taken alias Takram of Chhattisgarh who had challenged his seven year rigorous imprisonment after being convicted for sexually exploiting a blind girl on the false promise of marrying her.

Directing the Chhattisgarh government to provide the blind victim of sexual exploitation a sum of Rs.8,000 every month in her lifetime, Justice Eqbal, speaking for the bench, said: “It would not be possible for the victim to approach the National Commission for Women … for relief and rehabilitation… the victim, who has already suffered a lot since the day of the crime till now, needs a special rehabilitation scheme.”

Chhattisgarh government “shall pay a sum of Rs.8,000 per month as victim compensation to the victim who is physically handicapped, i.e. blind, till her life time”, the court said in its direction.

“Indisputably, no amount of money can restore the dignity and confidence that the accused took away from the victim. No amount of money can erase the trauma and grief the victim suffers. This aid can be crucial with aftermath of crime,” it said.

Finding no infirmity with the trial court convicting the accused and the state high court upholding the same, the apex court in its judgment said, ” … victim being physically disadvantaged, she was already in a socially disadvantaged position which was exploited maliciously by the accused for his own ill intentions to commit fraud upon her and rape her in the garb of promised marriage which has put the victim in a doubly disadvantaged situation and after the waiting of many years it has worsened.”

While the trial court had convicted and sentenced Taken to seven year rigorous imprisonment on November 29, 1997, it was affirmed by the Chhattisgarh High Court on January 16, 2014.

Tekram was studying with the victim girl’s three brothers and used to frequent her house. He gradually started displaying his love for her and on the promise of marrying her, sexually exploited her when she used to be alone at home. He refused to marry her after she became pregnant.

Both the victim and the accused are residents of village Nandini Khundini in Chhattisgarh’s Durg district.

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