A BLEAK REALITY WITH RAY OF HOPE: VICTIM COMPENSATION & REHABILITATION UNDER POSCO 

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This article has been written by Samta Sharma from JIMS, School of Law, Greater Noida and curated by Sahana Arya from Ansal university, Gurgaon. 


“While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female”

Despite decades of attention & legal actions rape culture or cases have represented that no sector can remain untouched & unaffected by it. Unwelcome rape & sexual behaviour has been a serious worldwide problem from decades which have not even spared innocent girls of 5 years or girls in the age bracket of 2-18. Some cases are not only about rape but causing injury or damage in the internal organs which is beyond cure. These cases are rude shock to humanity and in order to effectively address sexual exploitation & sexual abuse of children under the age of 18, the act of POSCO, 2012 was enacted to provide a legal framework for the safety & security of the children. Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional and physical effects on a survivor. These effects aren’t easy to deal with & need the proper support & help for the process of healing. Therefore, some sections & rules under POSCO act handle such cases to meet the immediate need of the victim and under this, it provides the timely compensation and proper rehabilitation to the victim and its family. 

Now here a question deserves to be ask- Is the government machinery really providing adequate compensation relief to all the sexual assault victims?

The present article aims to address the core concern of ‘victim rights’ with features and roles of government in providing them ‘Victim Compensation & Rehabilitation under POSCO act.’

 

The realization by the Indian Government that the ‘victim’ lies in the core of entire criminal justice has helped the victims in germinating their seeds during the last few decades. One of the principle facet of victim support is ‘compensation for injuries’. Subsequently, the incorporation of Section 357A in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lately became the need of the hour and therefore it was set as an obligation to provide the survivor or victim, who have suffered injury to provide them with sufficient victim compensation & proper rehabilitation facilities.

Lets examine what the statutes says about it- Section 33(8) of POSCO that in inclusion to punishment, the Special Court may direct adequate payment of compensation for the mental/physical damage caused to the child or for the immediate rehabilitation. Though now it is crystal clear that the law has made it mandatory but what about its implementation? POSCO victims are still facing gigantic complication in this respect. The implementation of this law has left so many confusions & questions in the minds of people. There is still confusion as to whether Delhi Legal Services Committee or the Special Court is to decide the amount, though a thorough reading of the Act made it quite apparent that the latter was the disbursing authority. At the top of it, there are even some cases or conditions where the compensation wasn’t granted by the special court and if granted then the amounts were rather scanty and arbitrary. In a sample study conducted by Delhi Commission, it revealed the following challenges face by the victim & their respective family-

  1. Around 38% of victims had never received any compensation.
  2. Overall 15% of the victims had only received compensation yet.
  3. Whereas, the left out 85% never received a bit of it.
  4. After deep enquiries with 81% of parents, they stated that they weren’t able to meet with the health-care needs of their child.

 

It is sad that the cycle of rape cases is running more faster than the cycle of government machinery. While the issues were still adding to the list, the Supreme Court passed a direction in the famous case of ‘Nipun Saxena & Anr v. Union of India & Ors’, it was clearly directed by the honourable court that if in case the court repudiate to grant any interim or compensation to the victim of the crime then it shall record its reason for doing so. Therefore, it still does not mean that compensation will be granted in every case but the verdict of honourable court must be there in every case.

It was the final case of ‘Unnao’ Rape case and the SC brought many of the major issues to the fore. The SC observed that guidelines of the act are not been followed properly. Apart from granting an amount of 25 lakh to the victim as interim compensation, the court also declared that an ‘Exclusive Special Court’ will be set up which will be separately and particularly dealing with the cases of POSCO act. Though the process of these courts are still underway and may took some time.

Fortunately the court has given the hope by introducing their new POSCO Rules on March 9, 2020. The new notable rules are as follows:

  1. There are some additions being done in the Rule 3 of the act that mandates the State & Central Government to maintain the appropriate awareness, the dispersal of information at different public places like airports, railways & etc. Apart from this, the provision is also made to frame or formulate a ‘Child Protection Policy’ which will indeed take care of the child’s prevention & cure both.
  2. Rule 4 speaks in support of child’s benefit that the victim’s support person (who is appointed for the benefit of child) must submit a monthly report to the Child Welfare Committee.
  3. Form A & Rule 4 (14) of the act guarantees that every victim and his/her respective family is made aware of their rights under the act when they will transfer the information to Police.
  4. Rule 8 speaks for ‘Special Relief’ in case of any emergency or essential need that is to be provided by the concerned Child Welfare Committee.

 

Fortunately the Union Government had approved & made the positive amendments in result of the combat rising issues of the POSCO rules & laws. After the case of Nirbhaya every rigorous & firm laws were made but unfortunately it didn’t stopped the problem. The new amendment had given ‘a ray of hope’ to everyone.

 

Conclusion:

There has been a paradigm shift in the approach of criminal justice with regard to victim of crime. The above mentioned reports were loud & clear that though the problems are arising day by day but fortunately the government has already taken bold steps towards bringing a positive change. Finally the government is trying to provide ‘speedy relief’ to the victims by minimizing their inconvenience and avoiding unnecessary delay in granting compensation to the victim. Though it is still a question that these new developments will be implemented properly or not but still a ray of hope is better than a bundle of question marks. 

Successful implementation of every law includes a coherent understanding which the government finally comprehends with regard to the social dignity of the children.

 

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