Gpvernment’s duty to provide free treatment to acid attack victims: HC

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Coming to the rescue of acid attack victims, the Delhi High Court on Friday said that the state government “owes a duty to provide free medical treatment” to these victims and a ceiling of expenditure of Rs.7 lakhs is “arbitrary and unreasonable”.

Justice Manmohan also said that if more than Rs.7 lakh is spent on treatment of an acid attack victim, the Delhi government cannot take the stand that they would not spend more than the ceiling amount.

As per a circular of Delhi government, the minimum compensation granted under the Victim Compensation scheme to acid attack victims is Rs.3 lakh and maximum limit Rs. 7 lakh.

“In the opinion of this court, the state owes a duty to provide free medical treatment to acid attack victims. This court is further of the opinion that ceiling of expenditure of Rs.7 lakh on medical treatment may be arbitrary and unreasonable in some cases. If more than Rs.7 lakh is spent on treatment of an acid attack victim, the respondents (Delhi government) cannot take the stand that they would not spend more than the ceiling amount,” said the court.

Hearing a plea filed by an acid attack victim, Renu seeking enhancement of compensation and aid for medical treatment, the court also directed the LNJP hospital to provide free medical treatment to her.

“Cost, if any, for the petitioner’s treatment at LNJP shall be borne by the Delhi government,” said the court, adding that the government also directed to provide employment to Renu on compassionate basis appropriate to her educational qualification as well as medical status.

It also directed that Renu’s medical bills up till date be scrutinised by an officer appointed by Delhi finance secretary and if found genuine, the sum is to be reimbursed to her.

“As stated hereinabove, the ceiling of Rs.7 lakh mentioned in Delhi government circular shall not come in the way of the state reimbursing the petitioner’s medical bills ‘on actual basis’. Also if the petitioner is entitled to any further interim relief, the same may be granted to her by the state in accordance with its policies,” said the court’s order.

Advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra told the court that Renu was 19 years old when the tenant in her family’s home threw acid on her face in 2006 in retaliation for his tenancy being cancelled.

According to the plea filed through Renu was granted compensation only in 2015, and had not received any aid for medical treatment from the government till then. She has now sought Rs.50 lakh as compensation, as well as free medical treatment for her injuries.

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