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Give details of money under Nirbhaya Fund: SC to States, UTs

PTI | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked all states and union territories (UTs) to come out with details of the money they have received from the Centre under the Nirbhaya fund scheme and the amounts disbursed as compensation to the victims of sexual assaults and acid attacks.

A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, while asking all the states and UTs to file their responses within four weeks on receipt and disbursal of funds, rued the fact that they do not respond.

“Let me tell you (senior advocate Indira Jaising who is assisting the bench as an amicus curiae), they do not (respond),” the bench said when Jaising submitted that states are under obligation to respond and should be asked to give details of the funds received and disbursed under the Nirbhaya scheme.

The Nirbhaya Fund scheme was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the sensational December 16, 2012 gang-rape and murder case in Delhi to support the initiatives of the governments and the NGOs working towards safety of women.

Meanwhile, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), represented by its Director S S Rathi, informed the court that it has prepared a draft Model Rules for Victim Compensation for sexual offences and acid attacks in pursuance of the earlier direction and would submit it later.

The NALSA Director said the procedures and the mode adopted in Delhi in awarding compensation to victims of sexual assaults and acid attacks have been considered while preparing the draft model rules.

“In Delhi, such victims are awarded money within 24 hours after a decision to this effect,” Rathi, an Additional District and Sessions Judge who has also served in the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), said.

During the hearing, the bench asked the NALSA Director whether there was any provision to reappropriate the unspent funds awarded to NALSA and the State Legal Services Authority.

The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on February 15 when it would deal with states’ response on receipt and disbursal of funds under Nirbhaya scheme and otherwise.

Earlier, the Centre had told the apex court that it was finding it difficult to get the cooperation of states on the issue relating to disbursal of compensation to the victims of sexual assault under the Nirbhaya scheme.

Jaising had informed the court that she had gone through 36 schemes related to compensation to be disbursed to victims of sexual assault under the Nirbhaya fund and has extracted the best practices which could be looked into by the bench.

The top court on September 22 last year had said it would hear the submissions of the amicus and the Centre on how best to evolve an integrated and cohesive system of payment of compensation to victims of sexual assault and also about steps to rehabilitate these victims or at least reduce or eliminate the trauma they have undergone.

Later, it asked the NALSA and others to devise a model rules on award of compensation to rape and acid attack victim.

Six petitions were filed in the Supreme Court after the gangrape case in Delhi on December 16, 2012 raising concerns over the safety and security of women.

All the petitions were tagged by the apex court and several directions have been issued from time to time in this regard.