Rape of minor: Madras High Court orders ₹14 lakh compensation; slams Legal Service Authority for seeking dismissal of case

The criminal case was closed by a local court following the death of the accused. The District Legal Services Authority then suggested that the plea before the High Court seeking compensation, can be dismissed.

The Madras High Court recently awarded compensation of ₹ 14 lakh to a minor, mentally challenged rape survivor even though a special court had closed all proceedings in the case after the accused died during the pendency of the trial. [T Kaliammal v. The State]

Justice PT Asha observed that by closing the case, the local special court had inflicted further injustice upon the survivor, who was physically and mentally challenged, and her family.

“Here is a pathetic case of the victim, a minor and mentally challenged, who had undergone aggravated penetrative sexual assault at the hands of the accused, not once but on several occasions. Unfortunately, before he could be visited with any punishment at the hands of law, he had passed away. The Special Court, without adhering to the provisions of Section 33(8) of the POCSO Act and Rule 7(1) and Rule 7(2) of the Rules, which are hereinbelow extracted, closed the case as charge abated,” the judgment stated.

However, the judge opined that the High Court has the power to remedy this wrong despite the bar under Section 362 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

“This closure is yet another action which has caused grave injustice to the victim and to some extent, shows the apathy displayed to a person of the victim’s condition. By closing the case, the bar under Section 362 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would kick in and the victim cannot turn to the Court for further compensation. The petitioner has therefore, rightly approached this Court. This Court has the power to remedy this wrong,” the Court said.

The Court also came down upon the Thootkudi District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for for its approach in the matter to seek closure of the case.

The Court was dealing with a plea for reasonable compensation filed by the mother of a minor girl who was found to have been repeatedly ravaged and impregnated by their 55-year-old neighbour.

The special court had earlier closed the case after the accused passed away while the trial was pending. On orders of the High Court, the victim’s pregnancy was terminated and she was awarded an interim compensation of ₹1 lakh.

Since the special court had closed the case, the District Legal Services Authority, through a counter-affidavit, suggested that the plea before the High Court for compensation can be dismissed.

However, the High Court slammed the authority for its inhumane and insensitive approach.

“Instead of assisting the Court in trying to rehabilitate and compensate the victim, who is a mentally and physically challenged girl, the fifth respondent has washed its hands off the case and prays that the writ petition be dismissed. The least said about the counter the better,” Justice Asha said.

The Court further found that the victim was eligible to receive the highest compensation amount payable under the available schemes for compensation.

The Court, therefore, directed the Thootkudi District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to pay the compensation amount to the victim from out of the Tamil Nadu Child Victim Compensation Fund established under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

The judge also directed the DLSA to ensure that the money was used only for the victim’s rehabilitation.


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