The Supreme Court on Friday approved a compensation scheme for victims of sexual assault and acid attacks. The scheme is applicable across the country, including in Union territories, and the court said compensation over what was stipulated could be also be given.
The National Legal Services Authority or NALSA proposed the scheme after consulting the central government. According to it, a person who has been sexually assaulted would get a minimum of Rs four lakh to Rs seven lakh as compensation, while victims of gangrape will get up to Rs 10 lakh. In cases of burning or acid attacks, compensation will be between Rs two lakh to Rs seven lakh.
NALSA told Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that only between 5%-10% of of sexual assault victims get compensation under various schemes, and asked for independent power to grant money to such women. The compensation granted under the ‘Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/Other Crimes’ scheme is currently not linked to trial, and so women can approach local authorities for compensation immediately after an incident, The Times of India reported. According to the scheme, the State or District Legal Services Authority can also take suo moto cognisance of cases of crimes against women to grant compensation to the victims.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data, rape cases increased by 12.4% between 2015 and 2016, going from 34,651 cases in 2015 to 38,947 in 2016. However, a majority of sexual assault crimes still go unreported in India. In 2016, Uttar Pradesh had 14.5% (49,262) of the total cases of crimes against women followed by West Bengal (9.6%) (32,513 cases).