The Bombay High Court said on Friday that the Maharashtra government should look at cutting down red-tapism and procedural technicalities while awarding monetary compensation to victims of rape and acid attacks.
A division bench of Justices R M Borde and R G Ketkar was hearing a matter where a girl, who had acid thrown on her in 2012, has not been given compensation under the Manodhairya scheme and her medical expenses had also not been met.
Under the revised Manodhairya scheme, rape victims, children who are victims of sexual assault and acid attack victims have to be compensated up to Rs 10 lakh, and their medical expenses have to be met by the government.
Government lawyer Neha Bhide told the court that the victim was not eligible for compensation under the scheme, which was made applicable from October 2, 2013.
Moreover, an amount of Rs 4 lakh had been kept towards the victim’s medical expenses, but the required bills had not been provided in time by either the victim or the hospital, the lawyer said.
The court said the government should have sent the money directly to the hospital. The bench also noted that under the Manodhairya scheme, the victim should to get compensation over and above the medical expenses. “Shouldn’t the government cut down the bureaucracy and procedural technicalities and help the victim? You (government) are so insensitive. In this particular case, the petitioner has already suffered physically… and now she is before this court since three years waiting for compensation,” Justice Borde said.
gIn such matters, the high court and even the Supreme Court has in the past said the government should not get stuck on technicalities. You (government) are not doing any favour to the victims,” the court said. The bench said that this was the kind of attitude that the government showed while paying compensation to the families of farmers who had committed suicide.
The court added that if this was the attitude of the state government’s Women and Child Welfare Department, then it would pass orders directing that the compensation amount be recovered from the personal account of the principal secretary of that department.
Bhide then said the department was ready to make the payment towards medical expenses within 10 days after verification of the bills submitted by the victim. The high court has now asked the government to pay the petitioner a sum of Rs 3 lakh as compensation under the Manodhairya scheme within three weeks. The bench has posted the petition for further hearing after three weeks.