The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) of Chandigarh has given a total relief of around Rs 1.99 crore to 82 rape survivors, including 50 minors, under Victim Assistance Scheme in the past five years. As per an official figure of the DLSA, 32 women, aged above 18 years, have been granted a total compensation of of Rs 48 lakh till date since 2013, while the remaining 50 minor rape victims have been awarded with a total compensation of Rs 1.51 crore. As recent as in March 2018, two rape victims, whose cases were reported in 2014, were granted Rs 10 lakh compensation each. The victims were a 21-year-old woman and 16-year-old girl.
DLSA Secretary Amarinder Sharma said the Victim Assistance Scheme has been enacted to provide funds to the survivors or her dependents in case of death or injury for rehabilitation. “Under the scheme, the DLSA has granted compensation to the victims whose cases have been recommended by the court,” said the secretary. As per the officials of the DLSA, every state government, in coordination with the Centre, is required to provide funds for the purpose of compensation under Section 357 A of CrPC (Victim compensation scheme). “Whenever a recommendation is made by a court for compensation, the DLSA or State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) decides the quantum of compensation to be awarded under the scheme,” said an official.
Rs 15 lakh aid for 10-year-old who gave birth
A 10-year-old girl, who had given birth to a child as a result of rape by her two uncles, has been granted Rs 15 lakh compensation, maximum among all the survivors. Her case ended with life imprisonment to the two accused. Initially, the victim was granted Rs 10 lakh compensation by the DLSA, following an order of Supreme Court in 2017. However, after the trial was over, a recommendation was made by Poonam R Joshi, Additional District and Sessions Judge of a special women and child court of Chandigarh, to see and explore the possibility of enhancing the compensation amount given to the victim. After an inquiry was conducted by the DLSA officials, Rs 5 lakh was added to her compensation amount.
The secretary, DLSA, said that the inquiry was based on different factors, including the victim’s economical condition, since the case was a peculiar one and had involved a minor who had given birth to a child.
Who are eligible?
As per the officials of the DLSA, there are different provisions for the grant of compensation under the scheme, which varies from case to case. Firstly, if a trial court, at the conclusion of the trial, is satisfied that the compensation awarded under Section 357 is not adequate for such rehabilitation, or where the cases end in acquittal or discharge and the victim has to be rehabilitated, it may make recommendation for compensation. Secondly, where the offender is not traced or identified, but the victim is, and where no trial takes place, the victim or her dependents may make an application to the state or district legal services authority for compensation. On receipt of such recommendations or applications, the SLSA or DLSA conducts an inquiry within two months and then awards adequate compensation.