After a division bench of the Gujarat High Court (HC) permitted the termination of a 14-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old girl from Botad in September, who was allegedly kidnapped and raped, the court has stepped in again to ensure that she is paid compensation of Rs 3 lakh under the Victim Compensation Act.
After a division bench of the HC deemed it necessary to provide the survivor with compensation to facilitate her socio-economic rehabilitation, the principal district judge of Bhavnagar decided the compensation amount of Rs 3 lakh based on existing norms. The same was conveyed and approved by the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority.
In an order dated October 9, the division bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and Nirzar Desai directed that of the total compensation, Rs 1 lakh be deposited in a joint account of the girl and her father and the remaining amount be put in a fixed deposit account, with a view to utilise the latter for her education and rehabilitation once she turns 18 years.
While survivors are usually entitled to compensation upon conviction of the accused when rape is proven, the HC decided to intervene in this case sooner since she was a minor and had to terminate a pregnancy. This indicates sexual intercourse by a minor, which qualifies as rape.
The parents of the minor had moved a habeas corpus petition before the HC in August, after they had alleged that their child was abducted by a 21-year-old man. A subsequent FIR came to be filed at Botad police station, alleging that the man had raped the minor, but no subsequent action was taken by the police.
The accused was charged under sections 363 (Kidnapping from lawful guardianship) and 366 (Kidnapping a woman under the pretext of marriage, illicit sex, etc) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as under sections eight (Sexual assault) and 12 (Sexual harassment of a child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).