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Delhi HC awards Rs 6 lakh to minor victim of sexual assault, says system can’t turn clock back but offer psychological safety

A single bench set aside a Sessions court order and directed that Rs 1 lakh be disbursed to the account of the petitioner with his mother as a joint owner and the rest of the amount be deposited by DSLSA by way of a fixed deposit.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: May 26, 2021 5:48:14 pm
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The Delhi High Court while directing the disbursement of Rs 6 lakh to a six-year-old boy, who is a sexual assault survivor, observed that, “since the system cannot turn the clock back”, there is “little else the court can do other than prosecute the offender and provide to the victim whatever psychological security and sense of empowerment that monetary compensation can give.”

A single bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambani set aside a Sessions court order directing the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to disburse Rs 50,000. The court directed that Rs 1 lakh will be disbursed to the savings account of the petitioner with his mother as a joint owner and the rest of the amount be deposited by DSLSA by way of a fixed deposit.

The HC said: “It is not hard to see that apart from the actual expenses that would be incurred for the petitioner’s (survivor) psychological counselling and treatment at a specialised institution like IHBAS,…it would also be necessary to put money in the hands of the petitioner’s family, to arrange for the petitioner to safely attend the school he was attending earlier or some other school and to cater to his educational needs.”

The trial in the victim’s case which is being heard by a Sessions court is underway. The Sessions court has awarded Rs 50,000 as interim compensation.

Prabhsahay Kaur, the lawyer appearing on behalf of the petitioner, told the HC that the Sessions court order “is flawed in as much as in awarding interim compensation of Rs 50,000, the learned (Additional Sessions Judge) ASJ has only taken into account the expected expenditure that the victim may incur.”

Kaur contended, “ASJ has failed to appreciate that, even at the interim stage, compensation is to be granted to a minor who is the victim of sexual abuse, to enable the victim and his family to overcome the incident and to compensate for the damaging effect on the victim’s psyche and to help rehabilitate the victim into society; for ‘relief’ and ‘rehabilitation’; and not merely to cover for the expenses to be incurred for the time being”.

The High Court said: “It is not just likely but certain that the petitioner, being only a six-year-old child, has suffered extreme psychological trauma, mental agony and post-traumatic stress.

“While attempting to quantify the compensation payable to the petitioner even at the interim stage, the effort of this court should be to offer monetary recompense…for the atonement of the crime to which the petitioner was subject; the physical and mental trauma suffered by him; and the emotional scar left on his psyche.”

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