Last Updated: December 23, 2022, 19:08 IST
On November 29, 2014, the woman was attacked with acid, resulting in third-degree burns on her face and chest. (File photo/PTI)
The woman was attacked with acid in 2014. Under the Uttarakhand Victim from Crime Assistance Scheme, 2013, she was paid Rs 1.6 lakh as compensation, however, she sought compensation of Rs 50 lakh for her future medical treatment, trauma and agony
The Uttarakhand High Court recently ordered the Member Secretary, Uttarakhand State Legal Services Authority (UKSLSA), to release and transfer a sum of Rs 35 lakh to an acid attack survivor as compensation.
A bench of Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra opined that the amount will be just, proper and adequate compensation to the victim, in addition to the amount already paid.
Along with that, the bench directed that if the victim is willing, she should also be given some vocational training.
The order was passed in a writ petition filed by the acid attack survivor, seeking Rs 50 lakh for the losses she suffered. She also sought a comprehensive rehabilitation scheme and direction to the State to directly pay hospitals for future expenses to be incurred by her in medical procedures.
The court also ordered the State government to provide free medical treatment to the survivor and if the hospitals in Uttarakhand do not have proper facilities to carry out the required surgeries, the State shall be under an obligation to get her treated in any hospital at New Delhi or in PGI, Chandigarh.
The entire expenses of petitioner for operation, travelling and stay for her and her attendant shall be borne by the State of Uttarakhand, court ordered.
THE 2014 ATTACK
On November 29, 2014, the woman was attacked with acid, resulting in third-degree burns on her face and chest. She sustained 60% burns on her upper body and knee and lost her right ear.
The attacker was convicted and sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 20,000 under Section 326-A of the Indian Penal Code. While passing the conviction order, the Sessions Judge referred the matter to District Legal Services Authority for payment of compensation.
A sum of Rs. 1.6 lakh was given to the woman by District Programme Officer, in compliance of order passed by Criminal Injury Compensation Board under the Uttarakhand Victim from Crime Assistance Scheme, 2013. Also, in pursuance of an interim order of the high court in 2019, an additional compensation of Rs. 1.5 Lakh was granted to her.
However, when the victim filed the present writ petition seeking further compensation, the State counsel opposed it and argued that since the victim had been already paid the compensation by the District Legal Service Authority, as per the Old Scheme, then if she was aggrieved, she should have filed an appeal before the UKSLSA.
The court referred to the judgment of the top court in Whirlpool Corporation Vs. Registrar of Trade Marks (1998) and held that no statue book provides for such a bar for entertaining the writ petition by the High Court.
“Even if, efficacious alternative remedy is available, if there is breach of fundamental right…the High Court has power to entertain the writ petition,” the court said.
In view of Article 21 of the Constitution, the court held that being an acid victim, the petitioner’s right to live with dignity had definitely been infringed and therefore, the writ petition was maintainable.
Further, taking into account the report of the Member Secretary, UKSLSA, the court opined that the victim should be given compensation under the New Scheme which came into force in 2018.
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