Chennai: Public might take some solace that the III Additional Sessions Court (PCR cases), Madurai, slapped a 55-year jail sentence on a headmaster M. Arokiasamy (62), who sexually assaulted 90 girls, but eyebrows have been raised on the judge for slapping a fine of Rs 3.4 lakh on the accused, to be shared among girl victims.
A woman judge has justified the court order saying that the CrPC provides for such a fine and compensation to be paid to the victims. But the crucial point is: How sensitive it is to handover a cheque to victims as a compensation for her traumatic experience? Is it truly a solace for having suffered at the hands of the brute?
“Whenever the girl touches the money, it would be like touching a worm. A more sensitive thing would be to convert the fine amount into the general funds such as the legal aid or rehabilitation and handover the compensation to the victims from the state funds,” said Sherin Bosko, child rights activist.
Advocates and educationalists feel that the mechanical move of following the CrPC should be avoided. “Indian judiciary is following the archaic practice as most of the laws and legislature is outdated pre independence. Did this unfortunately interpret in a mechanical way, not considering the nature and sensitivity of the case. Laws should get amended according to the situation,” opined Maffi Devadoss, advocate, Madras high court.
Talking about the case, she added: “if money is demanded from the culprit, he is being punished. But when it gets paid to the victims, it constantly reminds them of the pain. It is the responsibility of the state to compensate the victims and provide regular psychiatric assessments and counselling.”
Can the state shrug it off with the compensation of Rs 3.4 lakh to be distributed among 90 girls? “It is more to pinch the accused and teach him a lesson rather than compensating the 90 girls who suffered in the hands of the headmaster,” said Sudha Ramalingam, advocate....