SC guidelines not followed in Swapna case

SC guidelines not followed in Swapna case

District In-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary discusses acid attack victim’s rehabilitation with MLA D Vedavyas Kamath and Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B Rupesh in Mangaluru on Friday.

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) scheme and the Supreme Court guidelines for victims of acid attacks were not implemented in the case of Swapna – either by the district administration or the police.

The Supreme Court (in the Laxmi vs Union of India case) had declared that a victim of acid attack should be offered specialised facilities, including reconstructive surgeries in government or private hospitals. Under the NALSA scheme, the District Legal Services Authority should have released an interim compensation of around Rs 1.75 lakh – 25% of minimum compensation of Rs 7 lakh – without waiting for the victim to file an application for the compensation. The talks of releasing compensation to the victim of acid attack, however, began only after District In-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary visited the hospital on Friday evening.

The minister, who was accompanied by Mangalore South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath, was informed by the hospital staff that Swapna had lost vision in her left eye. Kota was also informed that Swapna was yet to come to terms with her loss. The minister assured that, within three days, he would decide on sanctioning a site and getting a house built for her.

Asha Jagadish of Jilla Matru Shakti told DH that VHP had announced donating Rs 1 lakh to Swapna.

No mention in FIR

Asha Jagadish said that Jayananda Kotari’s repeated sexual advances were rejected by Swapna. Kotari, therefore, threw acid on Swapna to dismember her face for life. “Yet, for reasons known only to the Kadaba police, they have declared that the acid attack took place due to dispute over property. Swapna is not even aware if the 80 cents of land have been registered in the name of her husband or father-in-law,” Asha added.

Intriguingly, however, the FIR filed at the Kadaba police station was registered under Sections 447 (Criminal trespassing), 504 (Intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 506 (Criminal intimidation) and 326 (B) (Causing hurt by throwing acid).

When informed about the acid attack victim’s charges of sexual harassment being downplayed by Kadaba police, senior police officers promised to look into the issue.