Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday pulled up the Maharashtra government for expressing its inability to provide compensation to victims of rape, sexual assault and acid attack, and asked a top officer to appear in person after two days to explain the state`s stand on the issue.
The state said in an affidavit that it did not have funds to provide compensation to victims of rape, sexual assault and acid attack.
A division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari asked the state government, "How can you be so insensitive towards the issue? Why can`t you allocate funds for this purpose?"
The bench then directed the Child Welfare Department secretary to appear in person before it on July 25 to explain the government`s stand in this regard.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Forum Against Oppression of Women, seeking implementation of a Supreme Court directive to form a policy for providing legal, medical and financial assistance for rehabilitating and compensating rape victims.
On last occasion, the state had informed it would soon come out with a draft policy for rehabilitation and compensation of rape, sexual assault and acid attack. The policy is expected to provide assistance to the victims, it had submitted before the court.
According to the petition, in 1995, National Commission of Women had framed a scheme and submitted to the central government on this issue.
"However, till date the state government has not taken any steps towards the same. Neither a compensation board nor victim compensation fund has been formed yet. As per statistics, 24,206 rape cases were registered all over the country in 2011," petitioner`s lawyer Mihir Desai said.
The PIL demanded that besides financial assistance, the scheme should also provide legal and medical help. A lawyer should be present with the victim even when she goes to police station to lodge her complaint.
"A list of lawyers` names should be prepared and kept in every police station so that when a rape victim goes to the police station to lodge a case, the police should ask her if she wants a lawyer to represent her," the PIL said.