The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Madhya Pradesh government to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation each to the two school-going girls gang-raped last year in Betma town of Indore district and issued show cause notice to a senior police officer as to why criminal case be not lodged against him for disclosing the names of victims in his affidavit.
The apex court expressed anguish that the affidavit filed on behalf of the state government by Additional Superintendent of Police, Indore, Arvind Tiwary, disclosed the victims' names, which is an offence under section 228A of the Indian Penal Code.
"Let a notice be issued to him. A showcause notice that why under section 228A of the IPC a case be not registered against him for disclosing the identities of the two rape victims in the affidavit. Explanation should be given by him in response to showcause notice within four weeks on receipt of the notice," a bench comprising justices R M Lodha and Madan B Lokur said while posting the matter for further consideration after six weeks.
The bench said the Madhya Pradesh high court order of fixing the amount Rs 2 lakh each as compensation was "very deficient" and "inadequate" for the school-going children belonging to poor families who were gangraped by 16 persons in an open field in Betma town in February 2012.
"We direct the Madhya Pradesh government through its principal secretary (home) to make payment of balance amount of Rs 8 lakh to each of the two victims within one month," the bench said while asking the Centre "to take lead in evolving social security and welfare measures" for victims of such crime for whom "trauma continues through out the life".
"Such victims cannot be compensated by any amount. As a matter of fact, no amount of money can restore the dignity and confidence of rape victims. However, certain measures like adequate compensation, insurance, employment and social security scheme may help in the rehabilitation of rape victims to some extent," the bench said.
The bench said as a federal government, the Centre must take a lead on the issue as it is not one state where such crime was happening but it is happening across the country and "no single day goes when we don't hear about incident of rape in the country".
The bench expressed displeasure that the high court was more concerned with the accused than the victims and said, "Its a mockery of system giving Rs 2 lakh as compensation to victims. Rs 2 lakh can't be adequate compensation. This is very serious infraction of human rights."
The bench was referring to the language used by the high court in its order where it said that the 16 persons are languishing in jail. "The high court is more concerned about 16 persons (accused). It says they are languishing in jail. They are not languishing in jail. They are serving sentence. It (high court) is not concerned about compensation," the bench said.
The judges told Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, "We want to know why as a welfare state you (centre) are unable to provide succor to the victims who suffer trauma. Actually, it can't be said what goes with victims," the bench said and stressed that larger issues involved in such matters need to be addressed.
However, Luthra informed the bench that larger issues concerning compensation, rehabilitation were being looked by another bench of the apex court in a group of matters. The bench said since other aspects including the social security scheme and rehabilitation for victims of rape were under consideration, it would leave the issue to be dealt by the bench which is seized of the matter.
The court was hearing the petition filed by 84-year-old Satya Pal Anand who has challenged the dismissal of his public interest litigation by the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court, which on June 22, 2012 refused to give directions.
The PIL was filed in the high court on February 21, 2012 based on the media report that after February 19, 2012 gang rape, the clippings of heinous crime recorded on the mobile phone was circulated by preparing the CDs and later it was posted on the Internet. The senior citizen has contended that victims were entitled for compensation and cited judgments of some courts, which have accepted the plea for compensation for victims of rape. He has also brought to the notice of the apex court that after that incident, reports of around 10 more cases of rape appeared in the media.