Even though several hundreds of sexual abuse cases against women and minor children are being recorded across Karnataka, not a single claim has been made as compensation from the Nirbhaya Fund floated by the Centre, over the last three years.
The fund was floated in the aftermath of the Delhi 2012 gang rape and fatal assault of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student.
Compensations to victims, however, have been paid in some cases from the State’s own funds up to a maximum of Rs. 3 lakh. However, in majority of the cases, compensation was paid in the range of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 75,000 per victim.
“The district administrations have utterly failed to provide compensation to victims of sexual abuse. Negligence, laxity and ignorance on the part of the State authorities about the existence of the fund and rules of the Centre are largely responsible for non-claimant of the compensation under the Nirbhaya Fund,” said V.S. Ugrappa, MLC and chairman of the expert committee on prevention of atrocities against women and children. “Deputy Commissioners, senior officials of the Women and Child Welfare and Social Welfare departments, Superintendent of Police, and members of the District Legal Services Authority, which award compensation, are totally ignorant of the existence of the Central Victim Compensation Fund Scheme Guidelines, announced in October, 2015,” he said.
The Nirbhaya Fund has a total of Rs. 3,500 crore, as Rs. 1,000 crore each was allocated to it in 2014-15 and 2015-16, besides Rs. 1,000 crore initial corpus. Rs. 500 crore was allocated in 2016-17.
In acid and rape cases, the minimum compensation amount is fixed at Rs. 3 lakh, Rs. 2 lakh in the case of physical abuse of minor, Rs. 50,000 for sexual assault, and Rs. 2 lakh for rehabilitation of victim involved in human trafficking. The State could have at least claimed Rs. 500 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund, Mr, Ugrappa said.
More than 95 per cent of SCs and STs and victims belonging to the weaker sections have not received compensation, Mr. Ugrappa, who toured all districts of the State, said.
He said that in most districts, there was no coordination between prosecutors and the police investigating the cases. A majority of schools had not put up CCTVs, he added.
“If this kind of situation continues, it will be very difficult to ensure safety of women and minor children, who constitute 75 per cent of the State’s population,” Mr. Urgrappa said, in a letter addressed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Listing out the work of the panel here on Thursday, he said the State government has not taken action on the interim report submitted by it in December 2015.
Though a large number of the panel members had refrained from attending meetings, the committee held 64 meetings, and monitored several sexual abuse cases in schools and hospitals.
Mr. Urgrappa sought three months’ extension to prepare a final report.