The state government on Monday informed the Bombay High Court that it will take a policy decision on whether the earlier version of the Manodhairya scheme is applicable to cases of acid attack, rape and sexual assault lodged after December 2009 or the revised policy of 2017.
The state had introduced the Manodhairya scheme in October 2013 under which monetary compensation is given to women and child victims of rape, child sexual assault and acid attacks.
Additional government pleader Neha Bhide told a division bench of Justice R M Borde and Justice R G Ketkar that the 2013 scheme covered cases lodged after December 31, 2009. “A separate policy decision will now be taken on the cut-off date for the scheme. The policy decision will also decide if the cases lodged after December 31, 2009, would be covered under the October 2013 scheme or the revised scheme of December 2017,” Bhide said. “The policy decision will also have to be taken on which state authority will decide on disbursement of claims under the scheme,” she said.
The division bench was hearing a matter in which a girl attacked with acid in 2012 had not been given compensation and her medical expenses had not been met, despite the Manodhairya scheme providing for it.
With regards to the case, Bhide said an amount of Rs 3.7 lakh had been given to the victim under the previous court directions and another Rs 3
lakh had been given to her under the scheme. “She had submitted her original bills to us that were verified and the medical expenses were reimbursed to her,” said Bhide. In the previous hearing, the court had directed the Maharashtra government to look at cutting down red tape and procedural technicalities while awarding monetary compensation to rape and acid attack victims.
The victim’s lawyer argued that she was entitled to Rs 10 lakh under the new scheme. The court, however, while referring to the 2017 Manodhairya scheme, said they could not travel beyond the recommendations of the scheme that was formulated after suggestions of a High Court-appointed committee and stated compensation could only be paid prospectively. The court has now directed the petitioner’s lawyer to study the new scheme and see if her claims of compensation under that scheme could be sustained.
Under the revised Manodhairya scheme, rape victims, child victims of sexual assault and acid attack victims have to be compensated with up to Rs 10 lakh and their medical expenses would be paid by the government.