HC pulls up state for not implementing central scheme

Bombay High Court (HC) asked the secretary of the women and child welfare department Monday to be present before it on July 25

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 23, 2013 12:55 am

Bombay High Court (HC) asked the secretary of the women and child welfare department Monday to be present before it on July 25. This,after the state government told HC it did not implement ‘financial assistance and support services to victims of rape: a scheme for restorative justice’ as it did not receive funds from the Centre.

HC said the state stand was insensitive towards victims of rape and asked why it could not allocate funds for the scheme.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Forum Against Oppression of Women seeking implementation of a Supreme Court directive to form a policy to provide legal,medical and financial assistance to rehabilitate and compensate rape victims.

The NGO said National Commission for Women came up with a scheme and made a proposal to the Centre in 1995.

Its lawyers Mihir Desai and Vijay Hiremath said the state government,however,did not take steps to implement the scheme. They said it neither constituted a compensation board nor set up a victim compensation fund.

In an affidavit filed through M D Borkhade,deputy commissioner,women and child development commissionerate,the government said it issued a letter on May 24,2011,to women and child development officers in all 35 districts of the state to set up criminal injuried relief and rehabilitation boards comprising district collectors,superintendents of police,civil surgeons and legal aid representatives and NGO members.

“The boards have not been able to perform as they have not received funds from Government of India,” Borkhade said,adding that the boards had “not been able to take off despite the best efforts of the state women and child development department”.

The affidavit also said the state government published a draft women policy on March 8 and affirmed its commitment to a compensation scheme for victims of rape and domestic violence.

“It has been proposed to provide immediate assistance to victims of sexual/acid attacks.”

The NGO contended besides financial assistance,the scheme should provide legal and medical help. Lawyers should be present in police stations when victims come to lodge complaints,the PIL said.

An annexure to the government affidavit claims the state has been allocated Rs 10.68 crore of a budget of Rs 148.98 crore for implementation of the central scheme in 2011-12.

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