Victims of mob violence, lynching to be covered under Delhi government’s compensation scheme

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Anwarulhaq Baig

NEW DELHI—After Rajasthan and Jharkhand, the Delhi state government has amended its Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme of 2018 to pay compensation to the victims of mob violence and lynching.

The amendment in the law was approved by Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena two days ago. It has lauded by social and human rights activists who demanded such a provision to help the victims of lynching and mob violence.

The amendment has, however, come after a five-year delay as the Supreme Court in a 2018 order had directed for such a scheme within a month of the order.

The revised scheme expands the definition of “victim” to include guardians or legal heirs of individuals injured or killed in mob violence and lynching incidents. This ensures swift aid for bereaved families, with interim relief to be disbursed within 30 days of the incident. Notably, the usual cap of Rs. 50,000 for interim compensation is waived for these cases.

The landmark Supreme Court judgment in the Tehseen Poonawala case of 2018 had laid out critical guidelines for compensation schemes, emphasizing factors like bodily and psychological injuries, lost earnings, and expenses incurred on medical, legal, and other assistance. However, the initial 2019 notification of the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme failed to address vioctims of lynching and mob violence.

Following a separate 2023 Supreme Court directive urging states to implement the 2018 guidelines, the Delhi government’s Law Department finally proposed amendments to the scheme. These changes clarify the definition of “victim” and expedite interim relief for mob violence and lynching cases. The two changes were made in the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, in rules 2 and 13. 

Rule 2, which discusses the definition of the victim, now states: “Victim’ includes a person who has suffered loss or injury as a result of the offense, including the offense of mob violence and mob lynching, and in the case of his or her death, the expression ‘victim’ shall include his or her guardian or legal heir. Provided, for the purposes of compensation, the victim of mob violence/mob lynching shall be the one who is treated as a victim of mob violence/mob lynching by the court or investigating agency.”

Rule 13, which talks about interim relief to the victim, now added this text: “Provided further that, in the case of mob violence or mob lynching, the interim relief to the victim, including interim compensation, shall be provided within 30 days from the date of the offense. The limit of Rs. 50,000 for interim compensation shall not apply to cases of mob violence or mob lynching; however, the upper limits of compensation provided under the schedule to the scheme shall continue to apply.”

This development marks a significant step towards upholding justice and offering timely financial support to those affected by brutal mob violence and lynching incidents in the capital. While concerns remain about the growing incidents of lynching and mob violence, the amended scheme offers a ray of hope for victims and their families in the National Capital Territory.

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