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THERE IS NO MANDATE UNDER THE LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITIES ACT, 1987 TO MOVE APPLICATIONS FOR VICTIM COMPENSATION COMPULSORILY THROUGH DLSAS/LSAS: ODISHA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Odisha through the division bench of Justice Arindam Sinha in the case of Sukuludei Santa v. Govt. of Odisha & Ors (W.P.(C) No. 12252 of 2022)

FACTS:

The petitioner is a sixty-seven years old lady. Her husband was murdered in 2019. After his murder, he being the sole earning member of the house the petitioner had applied for victim compensation at the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Koraput. Though she approached the DLSA many time, she was asked by the concerned staff that they had not received any such order from the authority to do such work. Therefore, being aggrieved by the authority she sought information under RTI from the DLSA Office, which made it clear that a case for victim compensation was registered in the name of the petitioner. However, getting no positive results from the DLSA, the petitioner was forced to approach the High Court under its writ jurisdiction for redressal of her grievances, causing out of inaction of the concerned authorities.

JUDGEMENT:

The Court acknowledged that the petitioner produced a copy of FIR dated 13th April, 2019 along with death certificate showing date of death of her husband as 9th April, 2019. Also, the said FIR was filed against unknown persons. Perusal of the FIR revealed that the occurrence of offence reported to be between 9th April, 2019 and 10th April, 2019. Information received at the police station on 13th April, 2019.

The Court further noted, the informant as mentioned in the FIR is uncle of the deceased. Contents of the first information was that the deceased had gone missing on 9th April, 2019 at 8.00 P.M. and was found the next day in the field of one Bhaga Santa. Hence, it held, it is clear that dead body was found, since the death certificate says death was on 9th April, 2019.

It clarified that there is no mandate under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to move applications for victim compensation compulsorily through DLSAs/LSAs. Accordingly, it concluded,

“Court has taken pain to analyze the facts for assistance of the administration in executing its policy on compensation. On behalf of State, it is submitted that opposite party no. 3 is to recommend. Petitioner will approach opposite party no.3, with this order. Said opposite party is directed to deal with petitioner’s claim for compensation, recommend the same for forthwith disbursal of compensation and inform her the result within three weeks of approach.”

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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