Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attacks on Women (CSAAAW) Vs. Department of Women and Child Welfare
This writ petition resulted in the prompt payment of compensation to an acid attack victim and the promulgation of guidelines for the proper treatment of such victims.
In 1999, Haseena, 19 years old, was attacked by her former employer Joseph Rodrigues, who poured acid on her head. The acid ate both her eyes and percolated throughout her body, leaving her crippled and physically incapacitated for life.
In the year 2004, the Sessions Court awarded a total fine of Rs 3 lakh to be paid to Haseena after the appeal period, by ordering of Rs 50,000 to be paid initially and the remaining amount to be deposited in fixed deposit and to be released after five years. Despite this judgment, actual payment was withheld pending appeals.
In June 2006, HRLN lawyers moved to the Karnataka High Court seeking release of the fine amount for Haseena, who was in dire need of money for treatment. The court ordered that the appeals to be taken up immediately and allowed HRLN to assist the prosecution. The High Court took notice of the plight of the victim and an additional fine of Rs 2 lakh added to the earlier 3 lakhs was also awarded.
In collaboration with the Campaign and Struggle against Acid Attacks on Women (CSAAAW) an organization working on the rights of acid attack survivors, the effort has been to highlight the retrogressive nature of the Sessions Court’s order and to ensure justice for Haseena. Public interest Litigation has been filed by HRLN, Bangalore on behalf of CSAAAW.
On the basis of the suggestions and recommendations provided by HRLN & CSAAAW on rehabilitation of Acid attack victims, the Court directed the following:
• Women and Child Welfare Department to pay acid attack survivors Rs 20,000 from their annual budget. This will be released by the State Women’s Commission and will include the Rs 10,000, which is disturbed currently.
• The Disabled and Senior Citizen’s Welfare Department will sanction a sum of Rs 15,000 to those who have become disabled due to acid attack.
• A sum of Rs one crore, which has been released as a part of the package will be used to provide the victim with advanced medical treatment up to a maximum limit of two Lacks per victim. In case they have already under gone treatment, the victims will be duly compensated.
• GPs can sanction an amount ranging from Rs 2,000 to 10,000.
• First Aid and medical treatment
• Health Department to provide free ambulance service as well as look into improving the existing facilities at the burns ward in Victoria Hospital.
• The HD and Child Development Department will identify private hospitals to provide treatment to the victims.
Employment and Rehabilitation measures:
• Alternate employment to the victims in case of inability to continue with previous employment due to injuries
• Women and Child Development Department to provide loans under existing schemes for self employment ventures
• Education and other facilities to dependents and children of women, who succumb to acid attacks.
• Acid attack survivors, who need help will be given priority under various housing schemes of the Government.
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