The victim compensation schemes prepared by Punjab,Haryana and Chandigarh have not found favour with the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Observing that the schemes require improvement and refinement,the high court has also remarked that they require reconsideration and need to be based on certain rational principles and objective lines.
The bench further observed,last week,that in the facts and circumstances,the states have to be given broad principles by high court for determining or specifying the scales of compensation to be given to victims of various offences.
During the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate H C Arora,it was brought to the notice of the court that the scales of compensation provided by Punjab,Haryana and Chandigarh differ to a great extent. In many cases,the compensation amount was meagre,Arora submitted.
It was also argued that the scales of compensation must be related to some broad principles,like compensation being provided under the Motor Vehicles Act or under the Workmen Compensation Act,pertaining to different types of injuries and loss of any limb or any part of body.
Appearing for one of the petitioners in a connected PIL,advocate R S Bains produced before the high court,a copy of the Law Commission of Indias report exclusively on the issue of acids attacks on women. In the aforesaid report,the Law Commission had recommended very reasonable and appropriate scales of compensation for acids victims and for their treatment including plastic surgery.
While taking the aforesaid report of Law Commission of India on record,the division bench called upon all the advocates to produce whatever documents they may find relevant,before the court,and to assist it in its endeavour to issue appropriate guidelines to states by giving broad parameters for determination of compensation payable to victims of various offences.
During the hearing of the case,some written suggestions were also given to the high court on behalf of R S Cheema,senior advocate and amicus curiae. Cheema,in his suggestions,pointed out that the word ‘victim has not been defined in any of the schemes.
Cheema also stated that under the victim compensation scheme of Haryana,the employees of Central/State Government,Corporations and public undertakings and income payees have been treated as ineligible for grant of compensation,which is irrational.
He also suggested that as in the case of scheme prepared by Chandigarh Administration,the period of limitation of three years for filing an application for seeking compensation under Section 357-A of the Criminal Procedure Code,should be provided in the Punjab and Haryana Schemes,which provide only for a period of six months as period of limitation.
Besides,the schemes of Punjab do not include any provision for grant of interim compensation to the victims.
Cheema also suggested that the Central Government must share the burden of victim compensation schemes,which have to be operated by the State governments.