New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday directed all states and Union Territories to formulate a uniform scheme to provide compensation to the victims of rape and sexual exploitation, especially those who are physically handicapped, saying there was "need to introspect" on their rehabilitation.
The apex court said they should consider and formulate programmes for such victims in the light of the scheme framed in Goa which provides compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh.
"All the States and Union Territories shall make all endeavour to formulate a uniform scheme for providing victim compensation in respect of rape/sexual exploitation with the physically handicapped women as required under the law taking into consideration the scheme framed by the State of Goa for rape victim compensation," a bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and Arun Mishra said.
It said the authorities should look into Victim Compensation Scheme under Section 357-A of CrPC for providing compensation to the victim or dependents who have suffered loss as a result of such crime.
"It is clear that no uniform practice is being followed in providing compensation to the rape victim for the offence and for her rehabilitation. This practice of giving different amounts ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 10,00,000 as compensation for the offence of rape under section 357 A needs to be introspected by all the States and the Union Territories...
"Indisputably, no amount of money can restore the dignity and confidence that the accused took away from the victim. No amount of money can erase the trauma and grief the victim suffers. This aid can be crucial with aftermath of crime," the bench said.
The apex court was hearing an appeal by a rape convict challenging a Chhattisgarh high court decision which had upheld the order of a trial court awarding him seven year jail for raping a 18-year-old blind and illiterate girl on the false promise of marriage.
Observing that being physically disadvantaged, the victim
was already in a "socially disadvantaged position", the court directed the state government to pay Rs 8,000 per month through her life time.
"Victim being physically disadvantaged, she was already in a socially disadvantaged position which was exploited maliciously by the accused for his own ill intentions to commit fraud upon her and raped her in the garb of promised marriage, which has put the victim in a doubly disadvantaged situation and after the waiting of many years it has worsened.
"The victim, being in a vulnerable position and who is not being taken care of by anyone and having no family to support her either emotionally or economically, we are not ordering the respondent state to give her any lumpsum amount as compensation for rehabilitation as she is not in a position to keep and manage the lumpsum amount," the bench said.