Delhi High Court moots single-window system for compensation to rape victims
A Division Bench expressed displeasure over lack of action by authorities following its April 16 orders and the delay in payment of relief
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday suggested establishment of a single-window system for disbursal of compensation to victims of sexual violence, and handed over the responsibility to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to work out the modalities in order to streamline the process and minimise delays.
A Division Bench expressed displeasure over lack of action by authorities following its April 16 orders and the delay in payment of relief, ranging between four and six months. A payment mechanism must be available at each Legal Service Authority office, said the Court.
The Bench, comprising Justice B. D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul, directed the DSLSA to convene a meeting with the Divisional Commissioner to evolve an effective mechanism for providing relief to the victims and submit a concrete proposal in Court by August 6, when the case will come up for further hearing.
The High Court, which had taken suo motu cognisance of the infamous December 16 gang-rape, has been issuing directions on women’s safety, payment of financial assistance to victims of sexual violence, strengthening the police force and establishment of forensic science laboratories.
Though the Delhi Government submitted in its status report that it was disbursing funds to rape victims, the Court observed that there were “inordinate delays” in payment of compensation. Even now, there was a delay of four to six months in disbursal of funds, said the Bench.
While High Court lawyer and amicus curie Meera Bhatia suggested that directions be given for establishment of a single-window mechanism, the Court said payment should be made to victims within two weeks after the issue is decided by the DSLSA.
As regards the appointment of additional police personnel, the Court observed that the change in government should not affect the process and expressed hope that the Centre will take prompt action on a recent request by the Delhi Police for creation of 14,869 additional posts. “A larger police force is the need of the hour,” said the Court.
On setting up of forensic science laboratories, the Bench directed the FLS Director to examine the feasibility of establishing labs in all government hospitals. It said the previous reply on allotment of land and purchasing of equipment was not satisfactory.