The chaos caused by demonetisation has affected the disbursement of compensation to victims of sexual assault, acid attacks and other crimes in the capital, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.
DSLSA member-secretary Dharmesh Sharma told a bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Jayant Nath that compensation in 68 cases has been held up after the November 8 decision of the Centre to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, since the “normal work of banks had been disrupted due to overwork”.
“The bank that handles the compensation transfers was overburdened with deposits and normal operations had taken a back seat,” said Sharma. The submission was made while the bench was hearing a PIL on women’s safety in Delhi, taken up by the High Court in 2012 after the December 16 gangrape.
Compensation to victims under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme is done through RTGS bank transfers.
The High Court, however, said that the delay in grant of compensation was “unacceptable” and directed DSLSA to ensure that the payment of compensation was “given priority status” and cleared within 24 hours as directed by the court.
The submission by the DSLSA was made after Advocate Meera Bhatia, who is the amicus curiae in the case, told the court that compensation had not been given to victims of sexual assault.
The bench also allowed the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to be made a party to the proceedings and has asked the Centre as well as Delhi government to respond to suggestions submitted by DCW to reduce crimes against women.
The DCW, in its plea, has raised several issues, including installation of CCTVs, streetlights in ‘dark’ areas, upkeep of nightshelters ad Nari Niketans, etc. DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal appeared before the court during the hearing and said that various directions were required from the court for proper coordination between various agencies and departments.
The government also informed the court that the “pilot project” of implementing the national ‘112’ emergency number has started. The court has, however, raised queries about the efficiency of the existing 100 helpline. The bench raised the question after noting the submission by the Delhi Police that there are currently 60 lines and 200 operators, but more were required.