Mumbai acid attack victim to undergo surgery in hospital at govt cost

Acid attack victim Aarti Thakur, who has sought compensation from the Maharashtra government, will undergo a plastic surgery in a city hospital on May 19, her lawyer informed the Bombay High Court today.

The high court had earlier ordered the government to bear the expenses of the surgery after 25-year-old Thakur filed a petition seeking compensation, as prescribed in the state government's 'Manodhairya Scheme'.

Thakur was attacked with acid at suburban Goregaon railway station in January 2012. Under the scheme, the government had decided to pay maximum Rs three lakh to victims of acid attack, Rs two lakh to rape victims and the same amount (Rs two lakh) to victims of sexual abuse.

The state government had earlier informed the court that it cannot pay more than Rs three lakh to the victim. Aarti had sought Rs four lakh to cover her medical expenses. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade today adjourned the matter to June 16 for further hearing.

Earlier, the bench had termed the government's decision to pay only Rs three lakh as arbitrary and contrary to an order of the Supreme Court which had said compensation of at least Rs three lakh should be given.

The court had also directed the government to bear the expenditure of Aarti's plastic surgery, which was scheduled in a private hospital last week. The surgery could not be performed as the surgeon was not available.

Following this, her lawyer Gayatri Singh told the court that Aarti had approached doctors at Mumbai's J J and KEM hospitals which are run by government and civic body respectively.

In another development, the government today filed an affidavit giving details about the beneficiaries of its Manodhairya Scheme.

Altogether 1,206 cases of rape, 1,711 cases of sexual abuse of minor children and eight cases of acid attack have been reported in the state till February. Of these, the cases sanctioned under the Manodhairya Scheme include 927 of rape, 1,295 of sexual abuse and six of acid attack, the affidavit said.

In Mumbai, 15 cases of rape and 59 cases of sexual abuse had been sanctioned under the scheme during the same period. In the city suburbs, the corresponding figure were 72 cases of rape, 125 of sexual abuse and two of acid attack.

The affidavit said that the scheme had been publicised through advertisement on radio, TV and other media. Even the victims are informed about the scheme by the investigating police officer soon after the case is filed, it said.

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