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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ganga Rape of a woman - Reliefs to victim granted by Apex court - who loved other cast man , by the order of cast panchayat elders - Apex court taken suomoto case and order for investigation and obtained report and Apex court held that we are of the view that the victim should be given a compensation of at least Rs. 5 lakhs for rehabilitation by the State. We, accordingly, direct the Respondent No. 1 (State of West Bengal through Chief Secretary) to make a payment of Rs. 5 lakhs, in addition to the already sanctioned amount of Rs. 50,000, within one month from today and that Directed to registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and the Police officers are duty bound to register the same. and directed that Likewise, all hospitals, public or private, whether run by the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other person, are statutorily obligated under Section 357C to provide the first-aid or medical treatment, free of cost, to the victims of any offence covered under Sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D or Section 376E of the IPC.=1 SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 24 OF 2014 In Re: Indian Woman says gang-raped on orders of Village Court published in Business & Financial News dated 23.01.2014= 2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41349

   Ganga Rape of a woman - Reliefs to victim granted by Apex court - who loved other cast man , by the order of cast panchayat elders - Apex court taken suomoto case and order for investigation and obtained report and Apex court held that  we  are  of  the  view that the victim should be given a compensation of at least Rs. 5  lakhs  for rehabilitation by the State. We, accordingly, direct the  Respondent  No.  1 (State of West Bengal through Chief Secretary) to make a payment  of  Rs.  5 lakhs, in addition to the already sanctioned amount of  Rs.  50,000,  within one month from today and that Directed to registration of FIR is mandatory under Section  154  of  the  Code,  if  the information discloses commission of a  cognizable  offence  and  the  Police officers are duty bound to register the same. and directed that Likewise, all  hospitals,  public  or  private,  whether  run  by  the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other  person, are statutorily obligated under Section 357C to  provide  the  first-aid  or medical treatment, free of cost, to  the  victims  of  any  offence  covered under Sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D  or  Section  376E  of  the IPC.=


   This Court, based on the news  item  published  in  the  Business  and
Financial News dated 23.01.2014 relating to the gang-rape of a 20  year  old
woman of Subalpur Village, P.S. Labpur,  District  Birbhum,  State  of  West
Bengal on the intervening night of 20/21.01.2014 on the orders of  community
panchayat as punishment for having relationship with a man from a  different
community, by order dated 24.01.2014, took suo motu action and directed  the
District Judge, Birbhum District,  West  Bengal  to  inspect  the  place  of
occurrence and submit a report to this Court within a  period  of  one  week
from that date.=    


  “GOVERNMENT OF WEST BENGAL

                               HOME DEPARTMENT

                    Report on the Rehabilitation Measures

      Reference: Suo Motu Writ Petition No. 24 of 2014

      Subject: PS Labpur, District Birbhum, West  Bengal  Case  No.  14/2014
      dated 22.01.2014 under section 376D/341/506 IPC.

           In compliance with the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court
      during the hearing of the aforesaid  case  on  4th  March,  2014,  the
      undersigned has reviewed the progress of rehabilitation measures taken
      by the State Government agencies.   The  progress  in  the  matter  is
      placed hereunder for kind perusal.

        1. A Government Order has been  issued  sanctioning  an  amount  of
           Rs.50,000/- to the victim under the Victim  Compensation  Scheme
           of the State Government.  It is assured that the amount will  be
           drawn and disbursed to the victim within a week.

        2. Adequate legal aid has been provided to the victim.

        3. ‘Patta’ in respect of allotment of a plot of  land  under  ‘Nijo
           Griha Nijo Bhumi Scheme’ of the State Government has been issued
           in favour of the mother of the victim.

        4. Construction of residential house out  of  the  fund  under  the
           scheme ‘Amar Thikana’ in favour of the mother of victim has been
           completed.

        5. Widow pension for the months of  January,  February  and  March,
           2014 has been disbursed to the mother of the victim.

        6. Installation of a tube well near the residential  house  of  the
           mother of the victim has been completed.

        7. Construction  of  sanitary  latrine  under  TSC  Fund  has  been
           completed.

        8. The victim has been enrolled under the  Social  Security  Scheme
           for Construction Worker.

        9. Antyodaya Anna Yojna Card has  been  issued  in  favour  of  the
           victim and her mother.

       10. Relief and Government relief articles have been provided to  the
           victim and her family.

        The State Government has taken all possible  administrative  action
        to provide necessary assistance to the victim which would help  her
        in rehabilitation and reintegration.

                                                              (Sanjay Mitra)
                                                            Chief Secretary”

23)   The report of the Chief Secretary indicates the  steps  taken  by  the
State  Government  including   the   compensation   awarded.   Nevertheless,
considering the facts and circumstances of this case, we  are  of  the  view
that the victim should be given a compensation of at least Rs. 5  lakhs  for
rehabilitation by the State. We, accordingly, direct the  Respondent  No.  1
(State of West Bengal through Chief Secretary) to make a payment  of  Rs.  5
lakhs, in addition to the already sanctioned amount of  Rs.  50,000,  within
one month from today.  Besides, we also have some reservation regarding  the
benefits being given in the name of mother of the victim,  when  the  victim
herself is a major (i.e. aged about  20  years).  Thus,  in  our  considered
view,  it  would  be  appropriate  and  beneficial  to  the  victim  if  the
compensation and other benefits are directly given to  her  and  accordingly
we order so.

24) Further, we also wish to clarify that according  to  Section  357B,  the
compensation payable by the State Government under Section 357A shall be  in
addition to the payment of fine to the victim under Section 326A or  Section
376D of the IPC.

25)   Also, no details  have  been  given  as  to  the  measures  taken  for
security and safety of the victim and her family.  Merely providing  interim
measure for their stay may protect them for the time  being  but  long  term
rehabilitation is needed as they are all material witnesses  and  likely  to
be socially ostracized. Consequently, we direct the Circle  Officer  of  the
area to inspect the victim’s place on day-to-day basis.



Conclusion:

26)   The crimes, as noted above, are not only in contravention of  domestic
laws,  but  are  also  a  direct  breach  of  the  obligations   under   the
International law. India has ratified various international conventions  and
treaties,  which  oblige  the  protection  of  women  from   any   kind   of
discrimination. However, women of  all  classes  are  still  suffering  from
discrimination even in this contemporary society. It will be wrong to  blame
only on the attitude of the people. Such crimes can certainly  be  prevented
if the state police  machinery  work  in  a  more  organized  and  dedicated
manner. Thus, we implore upon the State machinery to work  in  harmony  with
each other to safeguard the rights of women in our country. As per  the  law
enunciated in Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of U.P &  Ors  2013  (13)  SCALE  559,
registration of FIR is mandatory under Section  154  of  the  Code,  if  the
information discloses commission of a  cognizable  offence  and  the  Police
officers are duty bound to register the same.

27)   Likewise, all  hospitals,  public  or  private,  whether  run  by  the
Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other  person,
are statutorily obligated under Section 357C to  provide  the  first-aid  or
medical treatment, free of cost, to  the  victims  of  any  offence  covered
under Sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D  or  Section  376E  of  the
IPC.

28)   We appreciate the able assistance rendered  by  Mr.  Sidharth  Luthra,
learned ASG, who is appointed as amicus curiae to  represent  the  cause  of
the victim in the present case.

29)   With the above directions, we dispose of the suo motu petition.

2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41349
P SATHASIVAM, S.A. BOBDE, N.V. RAMANA
                            REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


             1 SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 24 OF 2014



In Re: Indian Woman says gang-raped on orders of Village Court published in
Business & Financial News dated 23.01.2014






                               J U D G M E N T


P.Sathasivam, CJI.

1)    This Court, based on the news  item  published  in  the  Business  and
Financial News dated 23.01.2014 relating to the gang-rape of a 20  year  old
woman of Subalpur Village, P.S. Labpur,  District  Birbhum,  State  of  West
Bengal on the intervening night of 20/21.01.2014 on the orders of  community
panchayat as punishment for having relationship with a man from a  different
community, by order dated 24.01.2014, took suo motu action and directed  the
District Judge, Birbhum District,  West  Bengal  to  inspect  the  place  of
occurrence and submit a report to this Court within a  period  of  one  week
from that date.

2)    Pursuant to  the  direction  dated  24.01.2014,  the  District  Judge,
Birbhum District, West Bengal  along  with  the  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate
inspected the place in question  and  submitted  a  Report  to  this  Court.
However, this Court,  on  31.01.2014,  after  noticing  that  there  was  no
information in the Report as to the steps taken by the  police  against  the
persons concerned, directed the Chief Secretary, West  Bengal  to  submit  a
detailed report in this regard within a period of two weeks.   On  the  same
day,  Mr.  Sidharth  Luthra,  learned  Additional  Solicitor   General   was
requested to assist the Court as amicus in the matter.

3)    Pursuant to the aforesaid direction, the Chief Secretary  submitted  a
detailed report dated 10.02.2014 and the copies of the  same  were  provided
to the parties. On 14.02.2014, this Court directed the  State  to  place  on
record the First Information Report  (FIR),  Case  Diaries,  Result  of  the
investigation/Police Report under  Section  173  of  the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘the Code’),  statements  recorded  under  Section
161 of the Code, Forensic Opinion,  Report  of  vaginal  swab/other  medical
tests etc., conducted on the victim on the next date of hearing.

4)    After having gathered all the requisite material,  on  13.03.2014,  we
heard learned amicus as well as Mr. Anip Sachthey, learned counsel  for  the
State of West Bengal extensively and reserved the matter.

Discussion:

5)    Mr. Sidharth Luthra, learned amicus  having  perused  and  scrutinized
all the materials on  record  in  his  submissions  had   highlighted  three
aspects viz. (i) issues concerning the  investigation;  (ii)  prevention  of
recurring of such crimes; and (iii) Victim compensation;  and  invited  this
Court to consider the same.

Issues concerning the investigation:

6)    Certain relevant issues pertaining to  investigation  were  raised  by
learned amicus. Primarily, Mr. Luthra stated that although the FIR has  been
scribed by one Anirban Mondal, a resident of Labpur, Birbhum District,  West
Bengal, there is no basis as to  how  Anirban  Mondal  came  to  the  Police
Station and there is also no justification for his presence there.  Further,
he stressed on the point that Section 154 of the Code requires such  FIR  to
be recorded by a woman police officer or a woman officer and,  in  addition,
as per the latest amendment dated 03.02.2013, a woman officer should  record
the statements under  Section  161  of  the  Code.  While  highlighting  the
relevant provisions, he also  submitted  that  there  was  no  occasion  for
Deputy Superintendent of Police to re-record the statements  on  26.01.2014,
27.01.2014 and 29.01.2014 and that too in gist which would lead to  possible
contradictions being derived during cross-examinations.  He  also  drew  our
attention to the statement of the victim under Section 164 of the Code.   He
pointed out that mobile details have not been obtained. He also  brought  to
our notice that if the Salishi (meeting) is relatable  to  a  village,  then
the  presence  of  persons  of  neighbouring  villages  i.e.,  Bikramur  and
Rajarampur is not explained.  Moreover, he submitted that there is  variance
in the version of the FIR and the Report of the Judicial Officer as  to  the
holding of the meeting (Salishi) on the point whether it  was  held  in  the
night of 20.01.2014 as per the FIR or the next morning as per  the  Judicial
Officer’s report, which is one of the pertinent issues to  be  looked  into.
He also submitted that the offence of extortion under  Section  385  of  the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short ‘the IPC’) and related offences  have  not
been invoked.  Similarly, offence of  criminal  intimidation  under  Section
506 IPC and grievous hurt under Section  325  IPC  have  not  been  invoked.
Furthermore, Sections 354A and 354B ought to have  been  considered  by  the
investigating agency. He further pointed out the discrepancy in the name  of
accused Ram Soren mentioned in the FIR and in the  Report  of  the  Judicial
Officer which refers to Bhayek Soren which needs to be explained.   He  also
submitted that the electronic documents (e-mail) need to be  duly  certified
under Section 65A of the Indian Evidence Act,  1872.   Finally,  he  pointed
out that the aspect as to whether there was a larger  conspiracy  must  also
be seen.

7)    Mr. Anip Sachthey, learned counsel for the State  assured  this  Court
that the deficiency, if any, in the investigation, as suggested  by  learned
amicus, would be looked into and rectified.  The above statement  is  hereby
recorded.

Prevention of recurring of such crimes:

8)     Violence against women is a recurring  crime  across  the  globe  and
India is no exception in this regard. The case at hand  is  the  epitome  of
aggression against  a  woman  and  it  is  shocking  that  even  with  rapid
modernization such crime persists in  our  society.  Keeping  in  view  this
dreadful increase in crime against women, the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure
has been specifically amended by recent amendment dated 03.02.2013 in  order
to advance the safeguards for women  in  such  circumstances  which  are  as
under:-

      “154. Information in cognizable cases.—

      (1) x x x

      Provided that if the information is given by the woman against whom an
      offence under Section 326A, Section 326B, Section 354,  Section  354A,
      Section 354B, Section 354C, Section 354D, Section 376,  Section  376A,
      Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section 376E, or Section 509
      of the Indian  Penal  Code  is  alleged  to  have  been  committed  or
      attempted, then such information shall be recorded, by a woman  police
      officer or any woman officer:

      Provided further that:--

      (a) in the event that the person against whom an offence under Section
      354, Section 354A, Section 354B, Section 354C, Section  354D,  Section
      376, Section 376A, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section  376D,  Section
      376E, or Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code is alleged to have  been
      committed or attempted, is  temporarily  or  permanently  mentally  or
      physically disabled, then such information  shall  be  recorded  by  a
      police officer, at the residence of the person seeking to report  such
      offence or at a convenient place  of  such  person’s  choice,  in  the
      presence of an interpreter or a special educator, as the case may be;

      (2) x x x

      (3) x x x”

      “161.—Examination of witnesses by police:-

      (1) x x x

      (2) x x x

      (3) x x x

      Provided further that the statement of a woman against whom an offence
      under Section 354, Section 354A, Section 354B, Section  354C,  Section
      354D, Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376B, Section  376C,  Section
      376D, Section 376E, or Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code is alleged
      to have been committed or attempted shall  be  recorded,  by  a  woman
      police officer or any woman officer.”

       “164.—Recording of confessions and statements.—

      5A In cases punishable under Section 354, Section 354A, Section  354B,
      Section 354C, Section 354D, sub-Section  (1)  or  sub-Section  (2)  of
      Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376B, Section 376C,  Section  376D,
      Section 376E, or Section 509 of the Indian Penal  Code,  the  Judicial
      Magistrate shall record the statement of the person against whom  such
      offence has been committed in the  manner  prescribed  in  sub-Section
      (5), as soon as the commission of the offence is brought to the notice
      of the police:”



      “164 A. Medical examination of the victim of rape.- (1) Where,  during
      the stage when an offence of committing rape or attempt to commit rape
      is under investigation, it is proposed to get the person of the  woman
      with whom rape is alleged or  attempted  to  have  been  committed  or
      attempted, examined by a medical expert,  such  examination  shall  be
      conducted by a registered medical practitioner employed in a  hospital
      run by the Government or a local authority and in the absence of  such
      a practitioner, by any other registered medical practitioner, with the
      consent of such woman or of a person competent to give such consent on
      her behalf and such woman shall be sent  to  such  registered  medical
      practitioner within twenty-four hours from the time of  receiving  the
      information relating to the commission of such offence.

      (2) The registered medical practitioner, to whom such  woman  is  sent
      shall, without delay, examine her person and prepare a report  of  his
      examination giving the following particulars, namely:--
      (i) the name and address of the woman and of the person  by  whom  she
      was brought;
      (ii) the age of the woman;
      (iii) the description of material taken from the person of  the  woman
      for DNA profiling;
      (iv) marks of injury, if any, on the person of the woman; (v)  general
      mental condition of the woman; and (vi) other material particulars  in
      reasonable detail,
      (3) The report shall state precisely the reasons for  each  conclusion
      arrived at.
      (4) The report shall specifically record that the consent of the woman
      or of the person competent, to give such consent on her behalf to such
      examination had been obtained.
      (5) The exact time of commencement and completion of  the  examination
      shall also be noted in the report.
      (6) The registered medical practitioner shall, without  delay  forward
      the report to the investigating officer who shall forward  it  to  the
      Magistrate referred to  in  section  173  as  part  of  the  documents
      referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (5) of that section.
      (7) Nothing in this section shall be construed as rendering lawful any
      examination without  the  consent  of  the  woman  or  of  any  person
      competent to give such consent on her behalf.
      Explanation--For the  purposes  of  this  section,  "examination"  and
      "registered medical practitioner" shall have the same meanings  as  in
      section 53.”

9)    The courts and the police officialss are required to  be  vigilant  in
upholding  these  rights  of  the  victims  of  crime   as   the   effective
implementation of these  provisions  lies  in  their  hands.  In  fact,  the
recurrence of such crimes has been taken  note  of  by  this  Court  in  few
instances and seriously condemned in the ensuing manner.

10)   In Lata Singh vs. State of U.P. and  Ors.,  (2006)  5  SCC  475,  this
Court, in paras 17 and 18, held as under:
      “17. The caste system is a curse on the nation and the  sooner  it  is
      destroyed the better. In fact, it is dividing the  nation  at  a  time
      when we have to be united to face the  challenges  before  the  nation
      unitedly. Hence, inter-caste marriages are in  fact  in  the  national
      interest as they will result in destroying the caste system.  However,
      disturbing news are coming from several  parts  of  the  country  that
      young men and women who undergo inter-caste marriage,  are  threatened
      with violence, or violence is  actually  committed  on  them.  In  our
      opinion, such acts of violence or threats  or  harassment  are  wholly
      illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished. This is a
      free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major  he  or
      she can marry whosoever he/she likes. If the parents  of  the  boy  or
      girl do not approve of such inter-caste  or  inter-religious  marriage
      the maximum they can do is that they can cut-off social relations with
      the son or the daughter, but they cannot give  threats  or  commit  or
      instigate acts of violence and cannot harass the person who  undergoes
      such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage.  We,  therefore,  direct
      that the administration/police authorities throughout the country will
      see to it that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter-caste
      or inter-religious marriage with a woman or man who is  a  major,  the
      couple is not harassed by anyone nor subjected to threats or  acts  of
      violence, and anyone who gives such threats  or  harasses  or  commits
      acts of violence either himself or at his  instigation,  is  taken  to
      task by instituting criminal proceedings by the  police  against  such
      persons and further stern action is  taken  against  such  persons  as
      provided by law.


      18. We sometimes hear of “honour” killings of such persons who undergo
      inter-caste or inter-religious marriage of their own free will.  There
      is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they  are  nothing
      but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal,  feudal-
      minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. Only in this way  can  we
      stamp out such acts of barbarism.”

11) In Arumugam Servai vs. State  of  Tamilnadu,  (2011)  6  SCC  405,  this
Court, in paras 12 and 13, observed as under:-

      “12. We have in recent years heard  of  “Khap  Panchayats”  (known  as
      “Katta Panchayats” in Tamil Nadu)  which  often  decree  or  encourage
      honour killings or other atrocities in  an  institutionalised  way  on
      boys and girls of different castes  and  religion,  who  wish  to  get
      married or have been married, or interfere with the personal lives  of
      people. We are of the opinion that this is wholly illegal and  has  to
      be ruthlessly stamped out. As already stated in Lata Singh case, there
      is nothing honourable in honour killing or other  atrocities  and,  in
      fact, it is nothing but barbaric and shameful murder. Other atrocities
      in respect of personal lives of people committed  by  brutal,  feudal-
      minded persons deserve harsh punishment. Only in this way can we stamp
      out such acts of barbarism and feudal mentality. Moreover, these  acts
      take the law into their own hands,  and  amount  to  kangaroo  courts,
      which are wholly illegal.


      13. Hence, we direct the administrative and police officials  to  take
      strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts. If any such  incidents
      happen, apart from  instituting  criminal  proceedings  against  those
      responsible for such atrocities, the State Government is  directed  to
      immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and  SSP/SPs  of
      the district as well as other  officials  concerned  and  charge-sheet
      them and proceed against  them  departmentally  if  they  do  not  (1)
      prevent the incident if it has not  already  occurred  but  they  have
      knowledge of it in advance, or (2) if it has  occurred,  they  do  not
      promptly apprehend the culprits  and  others  involved  and  institute
      criminal proceedings against them, as in  our  opinion  they  will  be
      deemed to be directly or indirectly accountable in this connection.”

12)   Likewise, the  Law  Commission  of  India,  in  its  242nd  Report  on
Prevention of Interference with the Freedom  of  Matrimonial  Alliances  (in
the name of Honour and Tradition) had suggested that:
      “11.1 In order to keep a check  on  the  high-handed  and  unwarranted
      interference by the caste assemblies or panchayats with sagotra, inter-
      caste or inter-religious marriages, which are otherwise  lawful,  this
      legislation has been proposed so as to prevent  the  acts  endangering
      the liberty of the couple married or  intending  to  marry  and  their
      family members. It is considered necessary  that  there  should  be  a
      threshold bar against the congregation or assembly for the purpose  of
      disapproving such marriage / intended marriage and the conduct of  the
      young couple. The  members  gathering  for  such  purpose,  i.e.,  for
      condemning the marriage with a view to  take  necessary  consequential
      action, are to be treated as members of unlawful assembly for which  a
      mandatory minimum punishment has been prescribed.

      11.2 So also the acts of  endangerment  of  liberty  including  social
      boycott, harassment, etc. of the couple or their  family  members  are
      treated as offences punishable with mandatory  minimum  sentence.  The
      acts of criminal intimidation  by  members  of  unlawful  assembly  or
      others acting at their instance or otherwise are also made  punishable
      with mandatory minimum sentence.

      11.3 A presumption that a person participating in an unlawful assembly
      shall be presumed  to  have  also  intended  to  commit  or  abet  the
      commission of offences under the proposed  Bill  is  provided  for  in
      Section 6.

      11.4 Power to prohibit the unlawful assemblies and to take  preventive
      measures are conferred on the Sub-Divisional  /  District  Magistrate.
      Further, a SDM/DM is enjoined to receive a request or information from
      any person seeking protection from the assembly of persons or  members
      of any family who are likely to or who  have  been  objecting  to  the
      lawful marriage.

      11.5 The provisions of this proposed Bill are without prejudice to the
      provisions of Indian Penal Code.  Care  has  been  taken,  as  far  as
      possible, to see that there is no overlapping with the  provisions  of
      the general penal law. In other words, the criminal  acts  other  than
      those specifically falling under  the  proposed  Bill  are  punishable
      under the general penal law.

      11.6 The offence will be tried by a Court of Session in  the  district
      and the offences are cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.

      11.7 Accordingly, the Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom  of
      Matrimonial  Alliances  Bill  20  has  been  prepared  in   order   to
      effectively check the existing social malady.”

13)   It is further pertinent to mention that  the  issue  relating  to  the
role of Khap Panchayats is pending before this Court in  Shakti  Vahini  vs.
Union of India and Others in W.P. (C) No. 231 of 2010.

14)   Ultimately, the question which ought to consider and  assess  by  this
Court is whether the State Police Machinery could  have  possibly  prevented
the said occurrence. The response is certainly a ‘yes’. The  State  is  duty
bound to protect the Fundamental Rights of its  citizens;  and  an  inherent
aspect of Article 21 of the Constitution would be the freedom of  choice  in
marriage.   Such  offences  are  resultant  of  the  States  incapacity   or
inability to protect the Fundamental Rights of its citizens.

15)   In a report by the Commission of Inquiry, headed by a former Judge  of
the Delhi High Court Justice Usha Mehra (Retd.), (at pg. 86),  it  was  seen
(although in the context of the  NCR)  that  police  officers  seldom  visit
villages; it was suggested that a Police Officer must  visit  a  village  on
every alternate days to “instill a sense of security and confidence  amongst
the citizens of the society  and  to  check  the  depredations  of  criminal
elements.”

16)   As a long-term measure to curb such crimes, a larger  societal  change
is required via education and awareness.  Government will have to  formulate
and implement policies in order to uplift the  socio-economic  condition  of
women, sensitization of the Police and other concerned parties  towards  the
need for gender equality and it must be  done  with  focus  in  areas  where
statistically there is higher percentage of crimes against women.

Victim Compensation:

17)   No compensation can be adequate nor can it be of any respite  for  the
victim but as the State has failed in protecting such serious  violation  of
a  victim’s  fundamental  right,  the  State  is  duty  bound   to   provide
compensation,  which  may  help  in   the   victim’s   rehabilitation.   The
humiliation or the reputation that is snuffed out cannot be recompensed  but
then monetary compensation will at least provide some solace.

18)   In 2009, a new Section 357A was introduced in the Code which  casts  a
responsibility  on  the  State  Governments   to   formulate   Schemes   for
compensation to the victims  of  crime  in  coordination  with  the  Central
Government whereas, previously, Section 357 ruled the field  which  was  not
mandatory  in  nature  and  only  the  offender  can  be  directed  to   pay
compensation to the victim under this Section.  Under the new Section  357A,
the onus is put on the District  Legal  Service  Authority  or  State  Legal
Service Authority to determine the quantum of  compensation  in  each  case.
However, no rigid formula can be evolved as to have  a  uniform  amount,  it
should vary in facts and circumstances of each case.  In the case  of  State
of Rajasthan vs. Sanyam, Lodha, (2011) 13 SCC 262, this Court held that  the
failure  to  grant  uniform   ex-gratia   relief   is   not   arbitrary   or
unconstitutional.  It was held that the quantum may depend on facts of  each
case.

19) Learned amicus also advocated for awarding interim compensation  to  the
victim by relying upon judicial precedents. The concept of  the  payment  of
interim compensation has  been  recognized  by  this  Court  in  Bodhisattwa
Gautam vs. Miss Subhra Chakraborty, (1996) 1 SCC 490.  It referred to  Delhi
Domestic Working Women’s Forum vs. Union of India and  others  to  reiterate
the centrality of compensation  as  a  remedial  measure  in  case  of  rape
victims. It was observed as under:-

      “If the Court trying an offence of rape has jurisdiction to award  the
      compensation at the final stage, there is no reason  to  deny  to  the
      Court the right to award interim compensation  which  should  also  be
      provided in the Scheme.”

20)   This Court, in P. Rathinam vs. State  of  Gujarat,  (1994)  SCC  (Crl)
1163, which pertained to rape of a tribal woman in  police  custody  awarded
an interim compensation of Rs. 50,000/- to be paid by the State  Government.
Likewise, this Court, in Railway Board vs. Chandrima Das, (2000) 2 SCC  465,
upheld the High Court’s direction to pay Rs. 10 lacs as compensation to  the
victim, who was a Bangladeshi National.  Further, this Court in  SLP  (Crl.)
No. 5019/2012 titled as Satya Pal Anand vs. State of M.P., vide order  dated
05.08.2013, enhanced the interim relief  granted  by  the  State  Government
from Rs. 2 lacs to 10 lacs each to two girl victims.

21)   The Supreme Court of Bangladesh in The State vs. Md. Moinul Haque  and
Ors. (2001) 21 BLD 465 has interestingly  observed  that  “victims  of  rape
should be compensated by giving them half of the property of  the  rapist(s)
as compensation in order to  rehabilitate  them  in  the  society.”  If  not
adopting this liberal reasoning, we should at least  be  in  a  position  to
provide substantial compensation to the victims.

22)   Nevertheless, the obligation of  the  State  does  not  extinguish  on
payment of compensation, rehabilitation  of  victim  is  also  of  paramount
importance.   The  mental  trauma  that  the  victim  suffers  due  to   the
commission of such heinous crime, rehabilitation becomes a must in each  and
every case. Mr. Anip Sachthey, learned counsel for  the  State  submitted  a
report by Mr.  Sanjay  Mitra,  Chief  Secretary,  dated  11.03.2014  on  the
rehabilitation measures rendered to the victim.  The report is as  follows:-


                         “GOVERNMENT OF WEST BENGAL

                               HOME DEPARTMENT

                    Report on the Rehabilitation Measures

      Reference: Suo Motu Writ Petition No. 24 of 2014

      Subject: PS Labpur, District Birbhum, West  Bengal  Case  No.  14/2014
      dated 22.01.2014 under section 376D/341/506 IPC.

           In compliance with the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court
      during the hearing of the aforesaid  case  on  4th  March,  2014,  the
      undersigned has reviewed the progress of rehabilitation measures taken
      by the State Government agencies.   The  progress  in  the  matter  is
      placed hereunder for kind perusal.

        1. A Government Order has been  issued  sanctioning  an  amount  of
           Rs.50,000/- to the victim under the Victim  Compensation  Scheme
           of the State Government.  It is assured that the amount will  be
           drawn and disbursed to the victim within a week.

        2. Adequate legal aid has been provided to the victim.

        3. ‘Patta’ in respect of allotment of a plot of  land  under  ‘Nijo
           Griha Nijo Bhumi Scheme’ of the State Government has been issued
           in favour of the mother of the victim.

        4. Construction of residential house out  of  the  fund  under  the
           scheme ‘Amar Thikana’ in favour of the mother of victim has been
           completed.

        5. Widow pension for the months of  January,  February  and  March,
           2014 has been disbursed to the mother of the victim.

        6. Installation of a tube well near the residential  house  of  the
           mother of the victim has been completed.

        7. Construction  of  sanitary  latrine  under  TSC  Fund  has  been
           completed.

        8. The victim has been enrolled under the  Social  Security  Scheme
           for Construction Worker.

        9. Antyodaya Anna Yojna Card has  been  issued  in  favour  of  the
           victim and her mother.

       10. Relief and Government relief articles have been provided to  the
           victim and her family.

        The State Government has taken all possible  administrative  action
        to provide necessary assistance to the victim which would help  her
        in rehabilitation and reintegration.

                                                              (Sanjay Mitra)
                                                            Chief Secretary”

23)   The report of the Chief Secretary indicates the  steps  taken  by  the
State  Government  including   the   compensation   awarded.   Nevertheless,
considering the facts and circumstances of this case, we  are  of  the  view
that the victim should be given a compensation of at least Rs. 5  lakhs  for
rehabilitation by the State. We, accordingly, direct the  Respondent  No.  1
(State of West Bengal through Chief Secretary) to make a payment  of  Rs.  5
lakhs, in addition to the already sanctioned amount of  Rs.  50,000,  within
one month from today.  Besides, we also have some reservation regarding  the
benefits being given in the name of mother of the victim,  when  the  victim
herself is a major (i.e. aged about  20  years).  Thus,  in  our  considered
view,  it  would  be  appropriate  and  beneficial  to  the  victim  if  the
compensation and other benefits are directly given to  her  and  accordingly
we order so.

24) Further, we also wish to clarify that according  to  Section  357B,  the
compensation payable by the State Government under Section 357A shall be  in
addition to the payment of fine to the victim under Section 326A or  Section
376D of the IPC.

25)   Also, no details  have  been  given  as  to  the  measures  taken  for
security and safety of the victim and her family.  Merely providing  interim
measure for their stay may protect them for the time  being  but  long  term
rehabilitation is needed as they are all material witnesses  and  likely  to
be socially ostracized. Consequently, we direct the Circle  Officer  of  the
area to inspect the victim’s place on day-to-day basis.



Conclusion:

26)   The crimes, as noted above, are not only in contravention of  domestic
laws,  but  are  also  a  direct  breach  of  the  obligations   under   the
International law. India has ratified various international conventions  and
treaties,  which  oblige  the  protection  of  women  from   any   kind   of
discrimination. However, women of  all  classes  are  still  suffering  from
discrimination even in this contemporary society. It will be wrong to  blame
only on the attitude of the people. Such crimes can certainly  be  prevented
if the state police  machinery  work  in  a  more  organized  and  dedicated
manner. Thus, we implore upon the State machinery to work  in  harmony  with
each other to safeguard the rights of women in our country. As per  the  law
enunciated in Lalita Kumari vs. Govt. of U.P &  Ors  2013  (13)  SCALE  559,
registration of FIR is mandatory under Section  154  of  the  Code,  if  the
information discloses commission of a  cognizable  offence  and  the  Police
officers are duty bound to register the same.

27)   Likewise, all  hospitals,  public  or  private,  whether  run  by  the
Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other  person,
are statutorily obligated under Section 357C to  provide  the  first-aid  or
medical treatment, free of cost, to  the  victims  of  any  offence  covered
under Sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D  or  Section  376E  of  the
IPC.

28)   We appreciate the able assistance rendered  by  Mr.  Sidharth  Luthra,
learned ASG, who is appointed as amicus curiae to  represent  the  cause  of
the victim in the present case.

29)   With the above directions, we dispose of the suo motu petition.




                                  ……….…………………………CJI.


                                       (P. SATHASIVAM)
































                                    ………….…………………………J.


                                      (SHARAD ARVIND BOBDE)







                                  ………….…………………………J.


                                      (N.V. RAMANA)



NEW DELHI;
MARCH 28, 2014.
-----------------------
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