Crime victims in State to get compensation

Victims can claim relief ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh

A victim of crime in the State will henceforth be eligible to claim compensation for the atrocity that he or she is subjected to.

The State Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Victim Compensation Scheme, drafted by the Home Department, on the direction of the Centre. Under the scheme, victims of crime will be eligible to claim compensation ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh.

Disclosing this to reporters, Higher Education Minister V  S  Acharya said the government  would shortly issue a notification to the Legal Services Authority, the implementing body for the scheme.

“If all goes well, victims can claim compensation from the next month onwards. The district legal services authorities (DLSA) will be notified immediately. Once all the technical details are ironed out, the scheme will be rolled out,” Principal Secretary to Home department S M Jaamdar said.

The top Home Department official said compensation could be claimed for as many as 30 instances of cognizable offence, including murder, rape, assault, manslaughter, dowry death, and sexual harassment. There should be tell-tale signs of physical injury to the victim to be eligible for the compensation.

The department has set aside Rs 2 lakh as compensation to the family of the victim. A minimum compensation amount of Rs 10,000 has been earmarked for victims of assault.

Soon after the crime, the victim is expected to file a compliant with the police department, which will issue a copy of the FIR to him or her. The victim will have to take the  FIR copy to the DLSA, entrusted with the authority to order dispensation of the compensation  based on the prima facie evidence. The amount will be released by the police department. The timeframe for the release of the amount will vary from case to case.

If the DLSA refuses to address the complaint/ case, the victim can approach the State Legal Services Authority.

In case the DLSA is not satisfied with the case, and suggests the case be tried in the court, the victim will have to cooperate with the Authority and see the case through till the end. 

“The crime must have been committed, reported and the victim will have to cooperate with the prosecution until the case is close,” said Jaamdar.

The victim will either way be paid the compensation before the trial, irrespective of the outcome of the case. “Compensation will be paid irrespective of the fact the accused is convicted or acquitted,” he added.

Jaamdar said this Scheme was significant because this would help improve the instances of reported crimes. “This will push up the number of crimes reported, which is very low today, despite the crime rate increasing dramatically.

Also, the victim was never catered for till date. The accused would either be punished or penalised, but the victim never gained anything, despite being subjected to an atrocity,” he said. Asked about the  possibility of the misuse of the scheme he added, “ The entire process will be monitored closely by the DLSA.”

According to 2010 statistics, Karnataka had recorded approximately 580 cases of rape;1,800 cases of murder; 1,800 cases of attempt to murder; 94 cases of culpable homicide; 1,300 cases of kidnapping; 22,000 cases of injuries; 250 cases of dowry deaths; 2,500 cases of molestation and 94 cases of sexual harassment during the year.

The scheme has already been approved in other states including Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Kerala.

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