A day after five rape cases were reported within a span of 48 hours in the Capital, the ministry of women and child development came up with a scheme to compensate the victims by providing them financial assistance of up to Rs 3 lakh.
The scheme was announced after the Delhi High Court rapped the Central and the state governments for the delay in setting up a compensation scheme for rape victims. The court ordered the implementation of the scheme within the next six weeks.
Under the scheme, if a rape case is prima facie made out, the victim will receive an interim financial assistance of Rs 20, 000 within 15 days.
After giving due consideration to the physical injury and emotional trauma faced by the victim, she will be provided with further financial aid up to Rs 50,000.
However, in view of the rampant trend of rape victims turning hostile or going missing after lodging the FIR, the major chunk of the compensation amount- Rs 1.30 lakh – will be handed over to the victim only after she makes the final deposition before the court.
The scheme has fixed the compensation amount for victims at Rs 2 lakh, but can it be enhanced up to Rs 3 lakh if the victim is a minor, differently-abled, mentally challenged or in any other case where the designated authority finds it necessary.
The scheme, prepared with the assistance of NGOs, lawyers and activists, aims at providing psychological, medical and legal assistance to the affected woman. It also has the provision to provide counselling support to the victim, including her spouse if the affected woman is married.
Depending upon their needs, the victims will also be provided various support services such as educational and vocational training so as to help them overcome the trauma and lead an independent life.
A Criminal Injuries Relief and Rehabilitation Board will be set up at the district, state and national level for the implementation of the scheme.
The announcement of the scheme on Wednesday evoked mixed responses from social activists, lawyers and academicians.
“I think it will lead to so much ugliness. My concern is that the government promises a lot but its delivery mechanism is so poor that everything becomes either a farce or a source of corruption,” social activist Madhu Kishwar said.
“What a woman needs more than anything else is swift, speedy and dignified judicial process and a police station that works lawfully. What is most worrisome is how they will ensure that the compensation reaches the victim,” she added.
“The Supreme Court, while pronouncing the judgment in the Delhi Domestic Workers Association case in the early 90s, had directed the government to formulate a similar scheme. They should have ideally done it within a year. The fact that they have not done it till date shows the intent and prioritisation of the government and the bureaucrats towards women’s issues,” Meenakshi Lekhi, a Delhibased advocate, said.
Yasmeen Abrar, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, said she was happy that the government finally came up with such a scheme.
“However, we feel that Rs 2 lakh is not a sufficient amount and should be increased to at least Rs 5 lakh,” Abrar said. But for some, the scheme is just an eyewash. “Compensation is meaningless so long as the guilty are not punished. Rape is not an accident where a money claim will heal the wounds,” a rape victim said.