“You value a rape at Rs 6,500?” That was how a bench of Supreme Court justices reacted while reviewing an affidavit filed by the Madhya Pradesh government on utilisation of funds from the Nirbhaya scheme.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta took the government to task and asked whether it was doing “charity” by paying a meagre amount to rape victims.
“According to you (Madhya Pradesh) and your affidavit, on an average, you are paying Rs 6,000 to a rape victim. Are you doing a charity? How can you do so. … You value a rape at Rs 6,500?”
“For Madhya Pradesh, the figures are fantastic. There are 1,951 rape victims in Madhya Pradesh and you are giving them Rs 6,000-Rs 6,500 each. Is that good, commendable? What is this,” the bench asked, adding, “this is total insensitiveness”.
Despite getting the maximum amount of allocation under the Nirbhaya Fund, Madhya Pradesh had only spent around Rs one crore on 1,951 rape victims.
The Nirbhaya Fund was set up by the Centre in 2013 after the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case in Delhi.
In January, the apex court directed all states and union territories to submit an affidavit on the amount received by them under the Nirbhaya scheme and the amount disbursed to victims of sexual assault. As many as 24 states and UTs are yet to file their affidavits, PTI reported.
During the hearing, when Haryana’s counsel said they would file their affidavit, the bench observed, “If you have not filed affidavit, it is a very clear indication of what you feel for safety of women in your state”.
“You take your time and tell the women in your state that you do not care for them,” the bench said while observing that 24 states and UTs have not yet filed their affidavit as per the court’s direction.
When the counsel representing one of the petitioners told the bench that they have so far received only one affidavit filed on behalf of Sikkim, the bench asked, “is this becoming a joke? If you are not interested in this case, tell us. On what basis you are saying that only one state has filed affidavit. You do not even see the office report?”.
The counsel for Meghalaya told the bench that they have disbursed around Rs 30.55 lakh to 48 victims of sexual assault.
with PTI inputs