The Victim Compensation Scheme entitles victims of rape to claim for compensation. However, in a recent decision by the Karnataka High Court, a division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe, has held that a rape survivor, who is hostile during the trial, is disentitled from claiming compensation under the Scheme.
This decision arose from the claim filed by a rape survivor who was seeking that Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) release a compensation of Rs 7 lakh in her favor. The rape survivor challenged the order of KSLSA, wherein the Authority had reversed the compensation Order earlier granted in her favor by the District Legal Services Authority.
Sometime in March 11, 2014, the claimant had reported that she was raped and the accused was arraigned in Court. Subsequently, on the 22nd of May, 2015, the claimant’s father filed a representation wherein they sought compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme.
On the 24th of March, 2015, the District Legal Services Authority passed an order granting the claimant Rs 3 lakh as compensation.
But while the proceeding was still pending before the Authority, the claimant and her father conducted themselves in a manner which made the Authority to declare them as hostile in the criminal proceedings.
Consequently, on the 23rd of March, 2019, the KSLSA set aside the Order for compensation. Aggrieved, the claimant lodged her complaint before the Karnataka High Court.
In dismissing her claim, the High Court referred to the provisions of Clause 6(3) of the Scheme, which stipulates that a rape survivor, who makes a claim, must cooperate with the investigation, and throughout the trial.
The Court also referred to Clause 7(10) of the Scheme, which stipulates that where a trial Court finds that a survivor or dependants, obtained an order sanctioning compensation through a fabricated or false complaint, such compensation can be recovered with 15% interest.
The Court pointed out that since the claimant and her father had been declared hostile by the District Legal Services Authority, the KSLSA was right to have held that she was not entitled to compensation.