We have in earlier articles published in this space ( available ARTICLE 1 and ARTICLE 2) discussed the Apex Court’s efforts to address the issue of exploitation of the Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and look for comprehensive compensatory schemes for their rehabilitation. In its latest order dated 6th December 2012 the Supreme Court after hearing the statements made by all the relevant state parties, NGOs and the panel members of the committee constituted by the Hon’ble Court itself observed that some of the State governments have initiated action to formulate schemes for rehabilitation of women in general, and the reliefs available can be extended to the target group of the proceedings i.e., Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation. The court perhaps for the first time also took note of the fact that one of the reasons for poor implementation of the scheme is the lack of knowledge of the availability of facilities among the people who are supposed to benefit from it. Going a step further the court also mentioned that there is lack of awareness not only among beneficiaries but also among those responsible for implementation of the schemes. Therefore, the court directed that the all the State Governments should take immediate steps to publicize the Schemes that are available through its own agencies, as well as through the State Legal Services Authorities and the District Legal Services Authorities.
The court in order to fill the void created by the absence of appropriate facilities for the Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation observed that “Till such time a composite scheme as intended to be framed, is made ready, the concerned authorities should take steps in accordance with the Schemes, which are already available in the different States. We may lay some stress on the reliefs available under Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the implementation whereof is, of course, with the State and District Legal Services Authorities. The said Authorities should also publicize the reliefs which are available under the aforesaid provision, so that victims of any kind of crime or discrimination, may apply to the Legal Services Authority directly for immediate relief.”
Further as a positive step towards providing better care and educational facilities for the children of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, it was brought to the notice of the court that the Delhi Government was contemplating to provide for additional space at MCD primary school for children in a day care centre and night drop in centre. This centre situated in the midst of a red light area- G.B road is sought to cater to the needs of the children of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in the area. The court in this matter directed that the Additional Commissioner In-charge, Community Services Department, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Civic Centre, Minto Road, New Delhi, should take immediate steps on the basis of the letters, which have been written by the Director of the Department of Women & Child Development, in this regard, within a fortnight from the date of communication of this order.
It remains to be seen how effectively the state authorities will be able to fulfil the task of publicising the schemes as per the dictum of the Supreme Court and in compliance with their duty.