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UTTAR PRADESH VICTIMS COMPENSATION SCHEME

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1980169_10152808523784123_8357164708941053289_oNATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK

The U.P. victims state compensation scheme (hereinafter the “Scheme”) was passed by the state government on April 9, 2014 in exercise of the powers conferred by section 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C), for any person who has suffered loss or injury as a result of a crime and requires rehabilitation, which includes his/her dependants and family members.[1] The Scheme was formulated as per directions issued by the Supreme Court in the case of Laxmi v Union of India [2], in criminal writ petition no. 129/2006, to all states and union territories. The scheme provides for the allotment of a separate budget by the State government for the fund, which is operated by the Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority. A victim becomes eligible for grant of compensation under three conditions:

  1. In case of absence of trial when victim is identified but the offender remains untraceable or unidentifiable; such a case also allows for claim under section 357-A of the Cr. P. C.
  2. Save the condonation of delay in reporting, by the DLSA[3], a victim can claim compensation if the crime is reported to the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station within 48 hours of occurrence of crime, or to senior police officer or Executive Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of the area.
  3. The victim/claimant provided full cooperation with the police and prosecution during investigation and trial of the case.

Section 5 talks about the procedure to claim compensation under the scheme.

While S.357-A of Cr.P.C. is the blanket provision for granting compensation to needy victims of crimes, an application can be made under sub section (2) of s.357-A by the victims or the dependant or on the Court’s own application. The DLSA examines and verifies each claim weighing the loss suffered, injury sustained and harm done due to the reported criminal activity, while assessing all relevant information required to determine genuineness of the claim.

The compensation should be awarded to victim after verification and due inquiry by DLSA and within 2 months of receiving recommendation of the Court after the application is received under sub-section (4) of section 357-A.[4] Under section 5(2) of the Scheme, if a judgment is passed by the trial court at a later date, directing compensation to be paid by the accused person(s) to the victim(s)[5], the same shall be remitted equal to the amount ordered to be paid under sub-section (3) of 357 or the amount of compensation, whichever is less. The victim/claimant should provide an undertaking to this effect before the compensation amount is distributed.

DLSA decides the quantum of compensation based on the loss caused to the victim, medical expenses to be incurred, minimum sustenance amount required for rehabilitation, funeral expenses and other incident charges, on a case to case basis.[6] DLSA or SLSA reserves the power to grant additional assistance of Rs. 25,000/- subject to a maximum of Rs. 1,00,000/- with regard to particular vulnerabilities and special needs of affected person(s).[7]

The situations in which such power can be exercised are usually when affected person is a minor girl requiring specialized treatment and care[8] or a mentally challenged individual in need of special care[9] or as deemed fit by the Legal Services Authority concerned.[10] DLSA, to alleviate suffering of the victim can order any interim relief, first aid assistance or medical benefits, free of cost on the certificate of an authority not below officer-in-charge of the concerned police station or Magistrate in that area.

The interim or awarded financial assistance is disbursed to the victim or his/her dependants via remittance to their bank account preferably within a week. In case of minor, the amount is remitted to the bank account of a parent or guardian after the concerned Authority is satisfied of its proper utilization.[11] Compensation in the nature of insurance, ex-gratia payment, or payment received under a State-run scheme, is considered part of the compensation amount payable under the Scheme. If, due compensation amount exceeds that received from collateral sources, the balance amount shall be remitted to the Fund.[12] Cases under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are exempted from this Scheme.[13] The quantum of compensation shall not exceed the maximum limit as laid down in Schedule I.

The maximum amount payable as against the specific loss or injury along with offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, added via amendment dated 10.7.2015, are as follows:

  1. Rape : Rs. 2,00,000/-
  2. Loss or injury causing severe mental agony to victim of the crime : Rs. 1, 00, 000/-
  3. Victim of corrosive substance e. acid attack etc.: Rs. 3, 00, 000/-
  4. Death of non-earning member: Rs. 1, 50, 000/-
  5. Death of earning member: Rs. 2, 00, 000/-
  6. Victim of Human Trafficking: Rs. 2, 00, 000/-,
  7. Penetrative Sexual Assault (section 4): Rs. 2, 00, 000/-
  8. Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault (section 6): Rs. 2, 00, 000/-
  9. Sexual Assault (section 7): Rs. 1, 00, 000/-
  10. Aggravated Sexual Assault (section 9): Rs. 1, 50, 000/-
  11. Sexual Harassment (section 11): Rs. 1,00,000/-
  12. Using Child for Pornographic purpose (section 14): Rs. 1, 00, 000/-

Section 6 covers the principles governing the determination of assistance to the affected person(s). The Authority while awarding compensation should account for the nature and severity of bodily injury sustained, and the medical expenditure incurred or likely to incur during treatment and psychological counselling. Other guiding factors include non-pecuniary loss entailing suffering, mental or emotional trauma or humiliation faced; age and financial capacity of the affected person to ascertain requirement of education or professional and vocational training and lastly; expenses incurred in connection with provision of any alternate accommodation in cases where affected person resides in a place other than where offence was committed, FIR had been recorded and criminal trial was initiated.

Section 7 requires copy of compensation order under this Scheme to be placed on record before the trial court, which will thereby pass the same under s. 375 (3) of Cr. P. C. Under section 8, claims made either by victims or his/her dependants after a period of six months of the crime, shall not be entertained, except where DLSA condones for reason to be recoded in writing. Section 9 allows for appeal to be filed before the SLSA to challenge denial of compensation by DLSA, within a period of ninety days, conditional to the provision that SLSA is satisfied for the reasons to be recorded in writing condones delay in filing the appeal.

[1] Section 2 (d) of the Scheme

[2] [(2014) 4 SCC 427]

[3] District Legal Services Authority

[4] (4) Where the offender is not traced or identified, but the victim is identified, and where no trial takes place, the victim or his dependents may make an application to the State or the District Legal Services Authority for award of compensation.

[5] S.357, sub section 3

[6] Section 5(3) of the Scheme

[7] Section 5 (4) of the Scheme

[8] Section 5 (4) (a)

[9] Section 5 (4) (b)

[10] Section 5 (4) (c)

[11] Section 5 (6)

[12] Section 5 (7)

[13] To be awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.

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