The Delhi high court passed a judgement on 13-05-2021 in the case of Mst X(through mother and natural guardian) vs State & Ors. W.P.(Crl.)1419/2021 and observed that the cases which comes under POCSO Act, entitled for the proper payment of compensation to the victim.
FACTS OF THE CASE
By way of a brief background, the proceedings arise from the petitioner/victim having been subjected to sexual assault, abuse and sodomy by his uncle in the victim’s own house.
The petitioner, a boy aged about 06 years, has filed the present petition through his mother and natural guardian, impugning order made by the learned Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) (POCSO), Saket Courts, New Delhi in CIS SC No. 66/2020 arising from FIR No. 645/2019 registered under sections 377/506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with section 6 of the POCSO Act.
Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner contends that order made by the learned ASJ in CIS SC No. 66/2020 (‘impugned order’) is flawed inasmuch as in awarding interim compensation of Rs. 50,000/-, the learned ASJ has only taken into account the expected expenditure that the victim may incur. In sum and substance, it is Ms. Kaur’s contention that the learned ASJ has failed to appreciate that, even at the interim stage, compensation is to be granted to a minor who is victim of sexual abuse, to enable the victim and his family to overcome the incident and to compensate for the damaging effect.
Standing Counsel (Criminal) appearing on behalf of the State (Government of NCT), where a notice has been issued under this petition and pointed-out that though the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme is funded by the Government of NCT of Delhi, the scheme is administered by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority and that therefore it is necessary to implead DSLSA as a party-respondent to the present proceedings. Subsequently, pleadings in the matter were completed; and counsel for the parties were heard at length.
The petition places reliance on the supreme court decisions in Yadava Kumar vs National Insurance co. Ltd & Anr for understanding the legal concept of ‘compensation’ and ‘interim compensation’ and in the case of Nipun Saxena vs. Union of India in which judgment the Hon’ble Supreme Court set the tone for grant of compensation to minors who are victims of sexual offences.
Court has given its anxious consideration to the matter and the submissions made on behalf of the parties. Upon a conspectus of the foregoing statutory framework, the position that emerges in relation to a minor who is victim of crime is the following :
(a) While section 357 of the Cr.P.C. provides for payment of ‘compensation’ to a victim from out of the ‘fine’ imposed by a court as part of the sentence awarded to a convict, section 357A of the Cr.P.C. contemplates payment of compensation to a victim under a Victim Compensation Scheme that is required to be formulated by every State Government in co-ordination with the Central Government.;
(b) Compensation under section 357A Cr.P.C. is to be paid, principally in two ways : one, on the recommendation of a court under section 357A(2) or section 357A(3) of the Cr.P.C; and two, on an application made by a victim under section 357A(4) Cr.P.C. to the State or District Legal Services Authority for award of compensation;
(c) In a case involving crime against a minor, regardless of gender, section 33(8) of the POCSO Act provides for payment of compensation to the victim. The word ‘compensation’ has not been defined in the Cr.P.C. nor in the POCSO Act nor in the POCSO Rules nor in the DVC Scheme.
Accordingly, upon an overall appreciation of the facts and circumstances of the case and the legal framework within which it is to be decided, order made by the learned ASJ in this case, is set-aside; and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority is directed to disburse and pay to the petitioner interim compensation in the sum of Rs. 6,00,000/- (Rs. Six Lacs Only), forthwith and in any event within 04 weeks of receipt of this order. Of the said sum, Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rs. One Lac Only) shall be paid by the DSLSA by way of electronic remittance into a savings bank account held or to be opened (with DSLSA’s assistance).
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ABHINAV CHATURVEDI