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HC orders Maha govt to pay for surgery of acid attack victim

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra government to bear the expenditure that will be incurred for plastic surgery and other medical expenses of an acid attack victim.

Aarti Thakur (25), an IT firm employee who was attacked with acid at suburban Goregaon railway station here on January 31, 2012, is scheduled to undergo plastic surgery and other operations at the Nova Specialty hospital next week.

The state government had earlier said that Aarti’s case cannot be considered for grant of monetary compensation under Manodhairya Scheme launched on October 2, 2013 as the incident was of a prior date.

The High Court had however, said that setting a cut-off date was arbitrary and contrary to a Supreme Court order directing a sum of at least Rs three lakhs to be paid to rape victims and acid attack victims as after-care and rehabilitation cost.

The court had on the last hearing asked the government to respond by today whether it was ready to bear the medical expenses of Aarti’s surgery.

“Despite giving time, the state government has not responded. We are informed that Aarti is scheduled to undergo surgery next week and it cannot be delayed due to pus formation on her injuries. We direct the hospital to ensure that the petitioner (Aarti) is operated without waiting for the money,” a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi ordered.

“The hospital shall after the surgery forward all bills to the state government which shall within four weeks thereafter pay the money,” the court directed.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by an NGO, Forum Against Oppression of Women, highlighting inordinate delay in implementing a scheme for compensating and rehabilitating rape survivors, as envisaged in the apex court’s decision of 1994, and a petition filed by Aarti Thakur seeking a compensation of Rs 30 lakh from the state government.

The court will hear the petition on April 9.

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