The Delhi government and Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) were directed to hold consultation on creating a “single window” to provide compensation to rape victims. The Delhi High Court bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul issued the directions on Wednesday after DLSA informed the court that even after it had issued orders to grant compensation, the money reached victims four-eight months later.
“The files go from the Divisional Commissioner to the ADM and the SDM. Time is needed to verify the address and family of the victim and then to create a bank account — all of this can be done in one go if the DLSA is given the authority to release funds,” DLSA OSD S S Rathi told the court.
The issue was taken up by the court during a hearing on a suo motu PIL taken up by the court after the December 16 gangrape case. The High Court has taken up various issues related to cases of sexual assault under the PIL.
During Wednesday’s hearing, amicus curiae Meera Bhatia informed the court that of 361 cases in which DLSA had ordered compensation, funds had reached the victims only in 91 cases since 2012. “In one case, the family of a five-year-old rape victim had to go from pillar to post to get compensation. The money was not released in time for the child to get proper medical help,” Bhatia said.
“You have to simplify things. Such a slow pace is unacceptable” the court said. The court also stated that the Delhi government had “failed” to follow directions given by the court in an April order. In that order, the court had directed the government to create more forensic science laboratories.
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Initially, the government had said the labs would be set up in seven government hospitals, but the plan had fallen through due to lack of trained personnel and equipment. Expressing unhappiness with the lack of progress, the court asked the government to expedite the creation of new FSLs.
On Wednesday, the court also asked the Home Ministry to expedite the process of recruiting more police personnel for the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police had earlier sent a proposal to the MHA to recruit 14,869 more personnel. In a related PIL on eve teasing incidents in the city, the court directed DLSA to hold a meeting with the Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Law and Order) to formulate a plan for “red flag areas”, where a large number of incidents of assault and eve teasing occur.
In April and May, the Delhi Police had conducted crime mapping of crimes against women in the city and had identified certain problem areas where eve teasing, molestation and assault cases were high.