December 16th, 2016
The Delhi High Court has ruled that a child “born out of rape” is entitled to compensation, including “maintenance and support”, independent of any such relief granted to the mother.
The Delhi High Court passed the judgement after sentencing a man to life imprisonment for raping his minor stepdaughter. The victim conceived and gave birth to a baby boy in 2014. The trial courts found him guilty and convicted him after DNA tests showed that he was the father.
The girl said that she was abused since the age of 11 by her stepfather. He had also threatened the lives of her eight-year-old stepbrother and mother.
The accused was a driver. He had married the victim’s mother after her biological dad passed away.
There is no provision for such compensation in the Delhi government directives or under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
“We find that there is a complete vacuum in the consideration of compensation so far as the sexual offence resulting in the birth of a child is concerned. Such a child is clearly a victim of the act of the offender and entitled to compensation independent of the amount of compensation paid to his/her mother. Such award would require to include amount towards his/her maintenance and support,” a Bench of Justices R.K. Gauba and Gita Mittal held in its 72-page judgment.
This statement is quite ironic. Just before the hearing for this case, the Delhi High Court reduced the compensation amount for the victim from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh. The trial court has previously said that the girl should be paid Rs 15 lakh. But the High Court stated that this was against the compensation scheme formulated in 2011 by the Delhi government.
They also reprimanded the trial court for their carelessness in not maintaining the confidentiality of the victim.
The bench said a child born out of rape, either of a minor or a woman who is an adult, ‘is clearly a victim of the act of the offender and entitled to compensation independent of the amount of compensation paid to his/her mother’.