Karnataka HC seeks reply regarding scheme for compensation to rape victims
Hearing a petition filed by 50 women advocates, a division bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri directed the State government to inform the action taken on the applications of 13 rape victims under the Victim Compensation Scheme (VCS). The bench desired the reply within a week.
Based on information received using the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the petitioners contended that an amount of Rs. 1 crore for allocated every year for VCS since 2012-13, but an amount of merely Rs. 25 lakh was utilised. The petitioners alleged that the State Home department had failed to implement the VCS and as a result of it, the funds allocated for compensation had lapsed. The petition pointed that that the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), which distributed compensation to some of the victims, has to bear with lack of funds. Thus, KSLSA was unable to release compensation to 13 rape victims due to non-availability of funds.
The petitioners further submitted that there are various schemes initiated by several departments for the victims of sexual assault, but there is lack of a single window system for dealing with such cases. Demanding that there should be one roof under which the victims can get all benefit, the petitioners requested the court to issue directions to appoint Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) as nodal agency for co-ordination of various schemes for women. The court was also requested to issue directions to the police to report such incidences to the authority within 24 hours so that all victims can be provided the obligatory benefits.