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Rs. 5 Lacs as compensation for rapes: SC verdict

Introduction:

In 1995, the judgement of Apex Court directed setting up of Criminal Injuries Compensation Board that would decide the amount to be paid by offender to the victim in case of rape and the board had to take various factors into consideration while deciding the amount. Some of the factors taken into consideration are account of pain, suffering, and shock as well as loss of earnings due to pregnancy and expense of childbirth, if occurred as a consequence of rape. Since then, there has been a lot of debates over compensation to the victim. Finally, on 11th May 2018, the Supreme Court came up with a way to support the financial needs of the rape victim and approved a scheme to grant compensation to them. As per the law, the grants are assigned as:

1.      Rs. 2 lacs, in case of loss of limb or part of the body leading to 80% permanent disability, for loss of fetus or miscarriage or grievous physical injury.

2.      Rs. 4 lacs, to be paid in case of unnatural sexual assault or rape.

3.      Rs. 5 lacs, to be paid in case of gang rape of victim, or 50% burn due to burning or acid attack.

4.      Rs. 7 lacs, to be paid in case of total disfigurement due to burning or acid attack.

5.      Rs. 10 lacs, to the family members if the gang-rape victim dies.

The compensation fund as a relief for the victims of rape or acid attack cases will be managed by the State Legal Service authorities.

Here are some of the points you would like to remember whil discussing in favour or against the compensation provided to the victims.

Positives of the Compensation:

  • The scheme, prepared with the assistance of NGOs, lawyers, and activists, aims at providing psychological, medical and legal assistance to the affected woman.
  • Provide counselling support to the victim, including her spouse if the affected woman is married.
  • The victim is also provided support through various services such as vocational and educational training so that she can overcome the trauma and live a healthy and independent life.
  • It is an act to ensure the honourable survival of the victim with an assumption that this policy might wash off the romantic euphoria of the youthful minds and compel the potential rapists to lead a life of moral man.
  • Though compensation may not lead to a normal life for the victim, it may help her in immediate assistance to overcome personal crises.
  • It is also a penal burden for the culprit as he needs to bear the compensation.

Negatives of the Compensation:

  • Compensation does not hold any value until the guilty is punished, rape is not an accident that can be mended by money.
  • The punishment, if given, to the rapist cannot relieve the sufferer from her misery.
  • The Compensation policy may help her bear the medical and legal expenses, but it will not help her to seek work and earn her living in the usual course.
  • The policy cannot help the victim to gain the same reputation and image in the society or bring back her modesty and she will always be glared by the society as if she is the one who has committed a felony.
  • It can’t be assured that the compensation amount is sufficient for the subsistence of the victim or for her medical and legal expenses.
  • Acts such as rape or acid attack affect the life of the victim adversely as she is outcasted by the society and is unacceptable to sacred values of the society.
  • On contrary, the courts judgement such as 20 years in jail or imprisonment for life makes offenders live a secure life within the walls of the prison.
  • This might also promote the culture of reporting of fake cases, where the accuser will ask for compensation even in the cases of consensual sex.

Conclusion:

The compensation policy by Government might help the victims to cover up the expenses of treatment and live a better life. However, it cannot help the victim to overcome the mental trauma or live a respectful life in the so called venerated society. The only thing that will help the victim to a small extent is a fast-tracked delivery of justice.

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