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SC questions Centre, states on non-utilization of Nirbhaya Fund

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre and all state governments questioning the non-utilization of the Nirbhaya Fund introduced in 2012.

The apex court asked as to why Rs. 2,000 crore corpus was not being utilised and disbursed among the victims of sexual offences. It also sought response from the Centre and states on forming a national plan for providing compensation to rape victims and witness protection programme.

All state governments have been asked to respond within six weeks.

The bench passed the order after senior advocate Indira Jaisingh, assisting the Supreme Court in a case arising from nine PILs on the issue, pleaded that the states were not giving necessary information to her.

“The states were supposed to set up one-stop crisis centres in each district. As many as 653 such crisis centres were supposed to be in place across the country, but they have not provided information whether they had done so,” Jaisingh said.

She submitted that the state governments should be directed to pay reasonable compensation to the victims as some were giving as little as Rs. 25,000.

The apex court had made Jaisingh amicus curiae in the 2012 Nipun Saxena case.

Saxena, a law student, had after the December 16 gang-rape case in2012 filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the apex court, questioning the constitutional validity of the two-finger test and had questioned about the formation of a victim’s compensation board as per a 1996 Supreme Court directive.

Nirbhaya Fund was announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget. According to the then finance minister P. Chidambaram, this fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. (ANI)

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