The AAP government has not yet notified the National Legal Services Authority's (NALSA) scheme for compensating victims of sexual abuse and acid attacks, despite the Supreme Court's direction to notify it by October 2 last, the Delhi High Court was told Thursday.
The Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) told Justice Vibhu Bakhru that the apex court by its order of September 5, 2018 had directed that the scheme be made operational across the country by October 2, 2018.
The submission by advocate Sumer Sethi, appearing for DSLSA, was made during hearing of the pleas of several women, who are victims of acid attack, challenging the cap on the compensation to be awarded in such cases.
Earlier under the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme of 2015, the compensation amount was Rs three lakh which was in 2017 increased to Rs seven lakh by the AAP government.
However, the victims of the acid attacks have sought much higher compensation ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, apart from employment under the disabled quota and reimbursement of the cost of treatment undertaken at private hospitals.
The Delhi government, represented by its additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, told the court that under the NALSA scheme the treatment would be free and if not available in the public hospitals, then a nodal officer would refer the patient to a private hospital and the medical bills would be later reimbursed.
He said that under the new scheme, the compensation is awarded in accordance with the percentage of burns and is capped at a maximum of Rs eight lakh.
According to the NALSA scheme victims of acid attacks, in case of disfigurement of the face, would get a minimum compensation of Rs 7 lakh, while the upper limit would be Rs 8 lakh.
It also says that if the injury was more than 50 per cent, a minimum compensation of Rs 5 lakh would be given, while the maximum would be Rs 8 lakh.
During the hearing, Tripathi also told the court that under the scheme acid attack victims are included in the disabled category with regard to employment opportunities.
The lawyer for the victims told the court that in states of Punjab and Haryana, the victims can directly go to a private hospital for treatment and the medical bills are reimbursed.
He sought that a similar approach be adopted in Delhi also.
After hearing the arguments, the court asked the Delhi government to examine if the cases it was hearing would be covered by the scheme and listed the matter on March 11.
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