New Delhi Last Updated at May 11, 2018
The NALSA told a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that the legal services authority should be given power on its own to grant compensation to such victims and there should be madatory reporting of cases of sexual assaults and acid attacks.
The apex court, while suggesting minor corrections in the scheme proposed by the NALSA, said the authority should also consider the aspect of recovery of funds if the cases lodged were found to be false.
“If there is a false case, there has to be recovery. We hope there is no false case. You think about recovery of fund, otherwise you will be stuck in civil suits,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, assisting the court as an amicus curiae, told the bench that the scheme applied to women and girl child victims only, but the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was “gender neutral”.
The bench suggested there could be an identical scheme for minor male victims too.
On being asked by the bench whether the proposed scheme was shared with the state governments, the NALSA said it was uploaded on their website and objections were invited from all stakeholders, including states, their legal services authorities and the civil society.
The bench, while observing that this was in a nature of “model scheme”, said it would take up the matter for further hearing tomorrow.
The NALSA had earlier told the court that hardly 5-10 per cent sexual assault victims across the country were getting compensation under the relevant schemes in various states.
The apex court had said it would consider in July the issues related to section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deals with disclosure of identity of victims of sexual offences and utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund by states.
The top court had earlier observed that nothing would materialise if money from the Nirbhaya fund was not properly spent on women’s welfare.
Earlier, the Centre had told the apex court that it was finding it difficult to get the cooperation of states on the issue relating to disbursal of compensation to the victims of sexual assault under the Nirbhaya scheme.
Several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court after the December 16, 2012 incident in Delhi raising concerns over safety and security of women. All the petitions were tagged by the apex court and several directions have been issued from time to time in this regard. ( PTI )