The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that minor survivors of rape or sexual assault will get compensation on par with women victims.
The apex court extended the National Legal Services Authority’s (NALSA) compensation scheme for women rape and sexual assault survivors to minor children.
A three-judge Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur directed that Special Judges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should disburse compensation to minor victims of sex abuse as per the NALSA’s ‘Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/Other Crimes-2018’.
The NALSA scheme would be made applicable to minor victims from October 2 until the Centre frames compensation guidelines under the POCSO.
The NALSA scheme provides a uniform payment of ₹ 5 lakh to a maximum ₹ 10 lakh for “loss of life” and to gang rape survivors in any part of the country. Similarly, in case of rape and unnatural sexual assault, the victim would get a minimum of ₹4 lakh and maximum of ₹ 7 lakh as compensation.
Among other categories, if a victim suffers the loss of foetus, that is, by miscarriage as a result of assault or loss fertility, the NALSA scheme offers a compensation of ₹ 2 lakh to 3 lakh.
The scheme provides a victim of acid attacks, in case of disfigurement of face, would get a minimum compensation of ₹ 7 lakh, while the upper limit would be ₹ 8 lakh.
In acid attack cases, if the injury was more than 50%, a minimum compensation of ₹ 5 lakh would be given, while the maximum would be ₹ 8 lakh.
The order is a product of the legal efforts undertaken by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who has lent her expertise in the case for uniform compensation for rape survivors. The case had begun in the Supreme Court with Ms. Jaising raising her voice against the dormant state of the Nirbhaya funds.
She has argued that compensation for sex abuse survivors should be a source of financial solace for victims of sex crimes and acid attacks during court trial.