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Apolitical compensation to rape victims

New Delhi, Fri, 08 Feb 2008 Vikash Ranjan

Compensation has been the soothing factor for the victims, since its inception. Cash money is allocated to the victims as a compensation for the loss they have suffered. In the list of cash reward such as for the accident victims, the natural disaster victims, the riot victim, the dam displaced victims or the SEZ affected person, now a new official compensation has been added that for the rape victims.

The Delhi High Court on this Monday asked the Safdarjang Hospital to pay a compensation of Rs 5,50,000 to a woman, who was raped in a hospital in the toilet in 2005.

The hospital administration was asked by the high court to pay the compensation as damages to the victim as it was faulted for the lack of security inside its premises. No doubt that the victim’s right to life and dignity were violated in the hospital premises and the hospital could not provide a safe and secure environment. Justice S Ravinder Bhatt also fined Rs 30,000 on the Delhi government for its failure to book the culprit.

The second latest call in this regard has been the announcement of Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat to a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a girl dared for registering complain against six of her teachers for gang raping her for over six months. When the news of this alleged gang raped spread outside the premises of the Primary Teachers Training College (PTC) in Patan city, Gujarat, it sought shame and condemnation from all corners.

Narendra Modi lost no time in announcement an amount of Rs one lakh to the victim for showing courage to expose the culprit.

The injustice done under the common law system to women who have been attacked and raped should be unacceptable, but it is tacitly accepted by a male-dominated legal system. There is no other excuse for such a low conviction rate. There should be no excuse at all.

The impact of a complex offence such as rape upon the victim is not merely physical, in effect it robs and violates the personality, undermining her confidence and insulted her dignity, even self-esteem.

Owing to the lack of belief or support backed by the society, many rape victims suffer pain in silence for years, and when any victim show dare to speak out publicly, she is often treated as liars and regrettably the society’s attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse are from negative than towards the perpetrator.

This reward announcement by the chief minister can be judged with two aspects. First there could be financial incentive by the government if a rape victim goes to public about sexual abuse or violence against her, even before the crime is proved in a court of law or an investigation is completed. In other way it would mean institutionalising the compensation syndrome for a government lapse with just cash.

No doubt money can initially boost up the victim and her family, if belongs to deprived class and also to fight case against the perpetrator. The painful humiliation stay with her until such victim dies. So, eventually it is justice, which can give the victim and her family a bit of satisfaction and no amount of money is going to make rape victim feel inviolate.

The question rises here whether Narendra Modi would have shown the same sincerity if the victim had raped or gang raped outside any governmental institution. If yes, then why not allowed any reward to another gang rape victim, Bilkis Bano? It took her six years to meet justice. But there was definitely no compensation by this very state government.

The Patan gang rape case is only coincidental that it happened in the constituency of Anandi Patel, a confidante of Modi, who holds the revenue portfolio. There has not come any public declaration of condemnation from the state association of teachers.

Financial assistance to any kind of victim is no doubt good, but it should not be politically motivated. High Court order to Safdarjang hospital and Delhi government to pay compensation to rape victim is praise worthy stride in this regard.


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Dr Mejraj Uddin

April 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I have read the coverage with deep interest. It will ideal if more details are provided.



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