Allahabad HC directs Bahraich DLSA secretary to ensure 12-year-old rape victim gets assistance, compensation

The Allahabad High Court has directed the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Bahraich to ensure all necessary legal assistance to a rape victim and ensure that her claim for compensation as per the prevailing scheme UP Victim Compensation Scheme 2014 is released soon.

The Division Bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Om Prakash Shukla passed this order while hearing a petition filed by the father of a 12-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 24-week-old pregnancy.

In compliance with the order dated 08.09.2022, Shubham Tripathi, counsel for respondents has filed an affidavit on behalf of respondent University.

The petitioner is a rape victim. Under the extraordinary circumstances, the Court proceeded to pass the following order on 12.09.2022.

"The report dated 12.9.2022 placed by Shivam Tripathi, counsel for the University is taken on record.

The case relates to unwanted pregnancy of a rape victim. We fixed the matter on 14.9.2022.

Shivam Tripathi, counsel appearing for the University, has been prompt enough to apprise the Court about the report which we called for under our order dated 14.9.2022. On an oral request of the counsel for the University, we proceeded to summon the record of the case and that is how the matter has come up. We deem the case to be an urgent one calling for immediate attention. It is in these circumstances, we proceed to pass the following order.

Keeping in view the report dated 12.9.2022 placed before us, we permit the medical experts to proceed with the challenge of terminating the pregnancy in the interest of justice. This we permit in order to free the victim of the trauma and social miseries ahead. The petitioner shall be provided due medical care equipped with all the necessities required for the purpose. We hope and trust that the CMO, Bahraich shall monitor financial implications to the fullest inclusive of the fooding and lodging of two extra family members of the victim.

We also permit the medical board to obtain necessary consent of the victim's father before termination of pregnancy. The tissues of the foetus shall be preserved for forensic analysis and use of the evidence in trial.

List/put up this matter on 20.9.2022."

It is informed that the victim had to undergo necessary medical treatment and unwanted pregnancy has been terminated by following requisite procedure. The victim has been discharged from the hospital and is presently under the guardianship of her natural parents. All this information has been put forth before the Court through the counsel appearing for the petitioner.

The Court noted that, at this stage, counsel for the victim has also pressed the prayer for rehabilitation of the victim. It is submitted that the government has also evolved a scheme whereunder the victims of rape have been provided financial support so that they lead a normal life like ordinary citizens. The rehabilitation scheme is implemented State-wide wherein the provision for compensation is also provided for. It is informed that the victim in the case is going through a vulnerable situation and is dependent for all sorts of help including legal services to claim the benefit of the scheme applicable in this behalf.

Accordingly, the Court directed the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Bahraich to ensure all the necessary legal assistance and help to the victim and ensure that the claim for compensation as per the prevailing scheme i.e. UP Victim Compensation Scheme, 2014 as amended from time to time is provided to the petitioner without any delay. All the requisite steps for the payment of compensation shall be taken by the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Bahraich expeditiously. The Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Bahraich shall take up the matter with the district authorities and submit a report to the Senior Registrar of this Court as to the outcome of such efforts taken for the payment of compensation to the victim or her family.

"For any threat to the life and personal liberty of the victim, it shall be open to make an application before the competent court under the victim protection scheme and the application so made shall also be dealt with expeditiously in accordance with law," the order reads.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the writ petition.