New Delhi: The Supreme Court has granted a one-time compensation of Rs 15 lakh to a hearing and speech impaired rape survivor from Himachal Pradesh who had delivered a girl child, modifying a high court order directing the state government to make monthly payments.
The top court said that it was not initially inclined to interfere with the high court order but later thought it necessary to make some appropriate arrangement regarding the payment of compensation to the survivor, having regard to her disability.
The top court modified a Himachal Pradesh High Court order directing the payment of Rs 30,000 per month for life as compensation to the survivor, who is 80 per cent handicapped.
"In the circumstances, we deem it appropriate to modify the order of the High Court insofar as it pertains to the payment of compensation to the survivor by directing the State to deposit an amount of Rs 15 lakh in an interest bearing fixed deposit in the name of the survivor in any nationalised bank in consultation with the Member-Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority...," a bench of justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.
It said that the interest accrued in the fixed deposit shall be withdrawable every month and be paid to the parents of the girl, so long as the parents are alive.
The court further directed for appropriate steps to be taken from time to time to ensure that the amount is actually spent on the welfare of the survivor.
Standing counsel Varinder Kumar Sharma appearing for the state said that instead of making monthly payments, as directed by the high court, it would be appropriate, that a lumpsum amount be directed to be paid to meet the ends of justice in the instant case.
The Himachal Pradesh government has challenged the high court order, saying there was no scheme for compensating the rape survivor for lifetime.
It had said that the quantum of compensation awarded by the high court was contrary to the scheme and the highest compensation payable was Rs 1 lakh in case of death or disability equal to or more than 80 per cent.
The high court had on June 29, 2016, while dismissing the appeal of convict Rajneesh alias Vicky, said that the prosecutrix was doubly in disadvantageous position since she has to maintain herself and her baby.
"She belongs to the lowest strata of the society. She has already suffered a lot. Thus she needs a special rehabilitation," it had said and partially modified the trial court order to direct Rs 10,000 per month as survivor compensation, in addition to Rs 20,000 awarded to her by the trial court by way of fine, during her lifetime.
On June 26, 2015, a sessions court at Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh had held Rajneesh guilty of rape and sentenced him to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000.
According to the FIR lodged on December 26, 2013 by the parents of the survivor, the convict, taking advantage of the prosecutrix who is hearing and speech impaired, had raped her several times and impregnated her.