Health aid for Acid attack survivors
Parivartan Kendra and Anr. Vs union of India
Two girls, belonging to the Dalit community, in Bihar were subjected to an acid attack by four assailants, who at midnight threw acid on the face of the victims while they were sleeping on their rooftop. It was reported that the girls were continuously harassed in public places often and terrorized that if the victim did not heed to their sexual favors, then she and her family would have to face the consequences. While the offenders got hold of the victim and poured acid on the face of the victim, it also fell upon the sister of the victim. After a lot of hue and cry, the parents got up to the rooftop whilst the offenders absconded from the premises. The victims were taken to the hospital immediately, but on account of improper treatment and unsupportive ailment to the victims, they had to be rushed to another hospital in Delhi.
Whether the victim should be allowed compensation and reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred in the treatment?
• Section 164, The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 – Recording of confessions and statements
• The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of the Atrocities) Act, 1989
The petitioner submitted that the victims were not given appropriate treatment as the situation demanded. The underlying reason for the aforesaid statement is that the victims belong to the Dalit community, due to which they had to be transferred to other hospitals for better access to healthcare services. The petitioner submitted that the offenders were arrested as a result of pressure from various organizations and the media. It was prayed to restore and reimburse the medical expenses involved in the process of treatment. Suggestions were made to add provisions and other schemes which prevent acid attacks and support the acid-attack survivors by aiding them for any medical assistance that arises in the future.
After hearing both the counsels, the court made the following observations.
Observations of the court:
The court was of the view of awarding more compensation that had been set in the case of Laxmi v. Union of India & Ors., in which an order was passed of paying at least Rs. 3 Lakhs to the victim. The court observed that the compensation fixed for acid-attack survivors by the state of Bihar is Rs. 25,000/-. However, the parents of the victim incurred more than 5 lakh rupees for the treatment. Schemes should be added that entails guidelines with respect to the sale of acid in the market. Given the plight of victims, it is true and a possibility that these victims are exposed to denial involving jobs that require more physical exertion of energy. The humiliation and reactions they’d be encountered with throughout life cannot be compensated. It cannot be ignored that the sister of the victim too had to undergo treatment. Thus, compensation should be awarded to her as well. The State would reimburse not only the prime charges but other compensation too.
The family had already spent more than Rs. 5 lakh, therefore, Rs. 10 Lakh should be given for the victim and Rs. 3 lakh should be awarded to the sister of the victim. The court directed all the states to take appropriate steps to prevent the recurrence of such cases.