The home ministry on Wednesday notified Central Victim Compensation Scheme, setting up a minimum standard of how much should a victim of rape or acid attack be paid. Till now, there has been an absurd disparity in compensation amount paid by state governments varying from Rs 10,000 to Rs 10 lakh. For example, Odisha government’s scheme does not mention rape. It has a vague provision which covers all crime against women – “loss or injuring causing severe mental agony to women” for which it pays Rs 10,000. While Goa, at the other end of the spectrum, has Rs 10 lakh for both rape and acid attacks.
In another example, Uttrakhand’s scheme specifies that for acid attack, the government will pay Rs 1.5 lakh only if it injures face of the victim. “If other organ other than face is injured,” the Uttrakhand government’s orders read, then the compensation is Rs 30,000.
“For the same crime why should a victim in West Bengal be paid lower compensation than one in Delhi. This is a violation of fundamental right that law will treat every one equally. We have been raising this issue for a long time,” said Ravi Kant, President of NGO Shakti Vahini. In Delhi, a victim of rape is paid Rs 2 lakh while in West Bengal she gets Rs 20,000.
As per the new guideline, regardless of which state the victim is residing in or where the crime is committed, all rape and acid attack victims will get Rs 3 lakh compensation. The guideline also promises compensation for loss of foetus- Rs 50,000 and loss of fertility Rs 1.5 lakh. Till now, Kerala was the only state to identify these two fall-outs of a criminal acts for which state is liable to pay compensation.
“We studied all the compensation schemes issued by state governments to formulate the lowest minimum. The states will now have to amend their schemes accordingly. They are free to pay any amount to victim if it is more than the minimum notified by us,” a senior official said. In 2009, the government notified 357 (A) CrPc which for the first time introduced compensation to victims of criminal incidents. Following this, the state introduced victim compensation schemes.