Victim Compensation in Rape Cases:
86) As a long term measure to curb such crimes, a large societal change is required via education and awareness. The Government will have to formulate and implement policies in order to uplift the socio-economic conditions of women, sensitization of police and other concerned parties towards the need for gender equality and it must be done with focus in areas where statistically there is higher percentage of crimes against women.
87) No compensation can be adequate nor can it be of any respite for the victims but as the State has failed in protecting such serious violation of fundamental rights, the State is duty bound to provide compensation, which may help in victims’ rehabilitation. The humiliation or the reputation that is snuffed out cannot be recompensed but then monetary compensation will at least provide some solace.
88) In 2009, a new Section 357A was introduced in the Code which casts a responsibility on the State Governments to formulate Schemes for compensation to the victims of crime in coordination with the Central Government whereas, previously, Section 357 ruled the field which was not mandatory in nature and only the offender can be directed to pay compensation to the victim under this Section. Under the new Section 357A, the onus is put on the District Legal Service Authority or State Legal Service Authority to determine the quantum of compensation in each case. However, no rigid formula can be evolved as to have a uniform amount, it should vary in facts and circumstances of each case. Nevertheless, the obligation of the State does not extinguish on payment of compensation, rehabilitation of victim is also of paramount importance. The mental trauma that the victim suffers due to the commission of such heinous crime, rehabilitation becomes a must in each and every case.
89) Considering the facts and circumstances of these cases, we are of the view that the victims in the given case should be paid a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs each for rehabilitation by the State Government. We, accordingly, direct the State Government to make payment of Rs. 5 lakhs, in addition to various other benefits, within 4 weeks from today. Further, we also wish to clarify that, according to Section 357B, the compensation payable by the State Government under Section 357A shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim under Section 326A or Section 376Dof the IPC.
Supreme Court of India
Mohd.Haroon & Ors vs Union Of India & Anr on 26 March, 2014
Bench: P Sathasivam, Ranjana Prakash Desai, Ranjan Gogoi
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