Our Outreach

20316

People Helped

7749

Sensitization & Awareness Programs

7415

Training & workshop

Achievements

:

  • Reached to 20,316 people with help in ‘Access to equal justice’ 
  • Compensation scheme started in Maharashtra with budget Rs 1.23 Cr through PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in year 2014 
  • Rehabilitation and compensation to victims was included in the curriculum of induction training of police and lawyers (Maharashtra Police Academy, Nashik, Judicial Officers Training Institute, Nagpur)
  • Maharashtra Police Academy asked DISHA to prepare a training module on ‘rehabilitation and compensation of victims’ and provided training to new batches accordingly.
  • The High Court also realized the need for a telephone helpline for the victims and Hon’ble Justice Shri B. R. Gavai (Then sitting Judge of Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench & now Judge, Supreme Court) inaugurated the helpline of DISHA in 2014. 
  • The Department of Social Justice, Kerala Government has invited DISHA to share its experience on the victim rehabilitation in consultation on modernization of the probation system. 
  • The Special Inspector General of Police (Law & Order), Maharashtra State recognized DISHA’s contribution in victim’s rehabilitation by issuing a letter to conduct training on compensation to the victim (Maharashtra VCS 2014 & Manodhairya) and directs its execution in all the Commissioners (City/ Railways), Superintendent (District/ Railways), and Mumbai Police on 29th Jan 2020. This very year,  the office of Director General of Police, Maharashtra State chose DISHA as one of the five benefiting Civil Society Organization to be supported through the philanthropy aspect of the first-ever, Maharashtra Police International Marathon held on 9 Feb 2020.

Shaping Policy

The concept of victim rights, victim rehabilitation and victim compensation began to emerge from the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice and Abuse of Power 1985. The key factor in helping the victim is compensation for rehabilitation, which the Indian judiciary has read as an integral part of the ‘right to life’. The Criminal Procedure Code was amended in 2008 to bring this principle into existence, which came in force in 2009, and each state took its own time to formulate the scheme.

In the same year, DISHA was established in Maharashtra and started action research for the rehabilitation of victims in Amravati district. During this action research, DISHA found that the system understood and identified the victim’s plight, but found no provision in the law book that guide or direct them to help the victim of the crime. And in this situation DISHA found that the amendment in Section 357A is a very important but neglected provision that could help the victim within the legal framework.

Till 2011, except Maharashtra, few progressive states in India formulated the victim compensation schemes. DISHA approached the state and central governments to find out the cause of inactivity in Maharashtra. Unfortunately, the state and central governments transferred the responsibility of implementing the compensation scheme in Maharashtra to each other.

As a last resort, DISHA approached the Hon’ble High Court of the Nagpur Bench to implement the scheme for the benefit of the victims of crime. The Hon’ble High Court, in view of the plight of the victims of crime and the importance of Section 735 (A (Compensation Scheme)), considered it a Public Interest Litigation (49/2011). However, as per the assurance of the Government   of Maharashtra to prepare the scheme soon, the Hon’ble High Court dismissed the PIL.

Even after the end of PIL, the determination and confidence of DISHA in activation of the victim compensation scheme remained intact. After the dismissal of PIL, DISHA waited patiently for a year to catch progress on the scheme at the ground level. In that one year, the Maharashtra government did not formulate a victim compensation scheme. In the year 2013, DISHA filed a new PIL (66/2013) for the activation of the Victim Compensation Scheme, which was concluded with formation of the Maharashtra Victim Compensation Scheme in year 2014 with budgetary provision of rupees 1.23 crore. The Maharashtra Victims Compensation Scheme 2014 provides compensation up to rupees 2 lakh to victims of murder, permanent disability and acid attack.

Key Highlights of the Maharashtra Victim Compensation Scheme 2014:

  • As defined in section 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 “victim” means a person who has suffered any loss or injury caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused person has been charged and the expression “victim” includes his or her guardian or legal heir;
  • Eligibility for compensation
  1. Recommendation is made by the court to DLSA/MSLSA to decide quantum, or compensation provided under section 357 is not adequate for rehabilitation or where the cases ends in acquittal or discharge and victim has to be rehabilitated, where offender is not traced or identified but victim is identified and where no trial takes place 
  2. Victim reports the crime to the police station or Executive or Judicial Magistrate of the area within reasonable time (Delay may be condone on recording reasons in writing before DLSA)
  3. Victim or claimant co-operate with the police and prosecution during the investigation and trial of the case
  4. Victim is not compensated for the loss or injury under any other scheme of the Central or State Government or any other institution 
  5. The loss or injury sustained by the victim or his dependents have caused substantial loss of income of the family making it difficult to meet their both ends without the financial aid or has spent beyond his means on medical treatment of mental or physical injury 
  6. The perpetrator of a crime is not traceable or gross unpunished after trial but the victim is identifiable and has to incurred lots of expenses on mental and physical rehabilitation 
  7. The crime on account of which the compensation is to be paid under this scheme has been occurred within the jurisdiction of Maharashtra 
  8. The employees of Central or State Governments, Boards, Corporation and Public undertakings and income tax payers shall not be eligible for compensation under this scheme. 

Procedure for grant of compensation

 

  1. On recommendation of court or on application of victim the DLSA or MSLSA examine the case and verify the contents of the claims with regards to loss or injury incurred to victim, loss or injury arising out of criminal activity and may call for any other information necessary for determine the genuineness of the claim. After verifying claim and due inquiry the DLSA, MSLSA awards adequate compensation by completing the enquiry within two months according to the scheme.
  2. DLSA or MSLSA upon satisfaction decides quantum of compensation on the basis of the loss caused to the victim, medical expenses incurred on treatment, minimum sustenance amount required for rehabilitation including such incidental charges as funeral expenses. The compensation may vary from case to case depending on the facts of each case. 
  3. Compensation is paid subject to the condition that if the trial court while passing judgment at later stage, order accused persons to pay any amount to victim, the victim will remit an amount ordered equal to the amount of compensation paid. An undertaking regarding this will be given to victim at the time of disbursal of amount. 
  4. Strict compliance of the scheme will be adhered by the DLSA or MSLSA
  5. Compensation received by the victim from any other collateral sources of Government in connection to the same offence will be considered as compensation under this scheme and if the eligible compensation exceeds the payments received, then DLSA/ MSLSA will paid balance amount under this scheme.
  6. Quantum of compensation will be fixed as per the minimum wages and schedule appended to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. 
  7. The cases covered under the Motor Vehicle Act will not be covered under this scheme. 
  8. The quantum of compensation will not exceed maximum limit given in scheme.
  9. If the trial court held that the compensation is obtained based on false, vexatious or fabricated complaint, the compensation awarded will be recovered with fifteen per cent interest per annum. 
  10. The DLSA/MSLSA may order for immediate first-aid facility or free of cost medical treatment on certificate of police station in-charge   

Limitation: No victim can claim compensation after a period of six months of crime

Appeal: Any victim denial of compensation by DLSA may file appeal to MSLSA within period of ninety days.

Case studies

Case 1: Reshma

Reshma’s (Name changed) family got a house under the Gharkul scheme, which led to a dispute between Reshma’s husband and his brother. Reshma’s husband was murdered by his brother and nephew in a dispute over 1 foot space in front of his two young children (12 year daughter, 14 year son) in a small village in Chandur Bazar block of Amravati distirct. This incident had a very serious effect on 12 year old daughter. She continued to be silent, and six months later she attempted for suicide for first time in which she burned forty percent.

Rekha’s husband was a landless laborer. So after his murder, the entire responsibility of running the house fell on Reshma. Reshma was responsible for taking care of 3 children and 2 elderly in-laws. Reshma’s education was low and she started working in the field as a farm labourer to run the house. This work is seasonal and there is not much income. So her eldest daughter stopped her B.Ed. education and started working in the fields with Reshma. About the court case, Reshma did not know what to do, what to say, where to express her questions and doubts. 

When the family came in contact with DISHA, they were first given psychological support. After understanding all their difficulties and doubts, they were given social and legal guidance. Reshma’s daughter, who was trying to commit suicide and remained silent, urgently needed the treatment of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist’s treatment was expensive, for which DISHA helped her. It was necessary to save her life and also for the legal case. After a few months of treatment, the girl gradually became stable.

At the same time, DISHA helped Reshma to submit the required documents and apply for the ‘Victim Compensation Scheme’. To get benefits under this scheme, she had to wash her hands off daily wages several times and appear before the Legal Services Authority in district court. Three years after the incident, she was given compensation of Rs1 lakh by the Legal Services Authority. Reshma fixed the amount in bank so that it would come in handy in times of difficulty.

As soon as DISHA came in contact with family, they resumed the education of all three children. However, her younger daughter dropped out of school due to depression and the boy dropped out of school to help his mother. Despite the efforts of DISHA, the two did not go back to school. The eldest daughter, however, completed her education and started preparing for MPSC with the help of DISHA. The villagers began to discourage her from getting a job. But DISHA offered her a class and bought books on which she began to study. In three years, she worked hard to get a job in the health department, which gave her family some support. 

When the case came to the board five or six years later, the accused’s family threatened Reshma and her children to turn hostile in the court. As a result, mental balance of her younger daughter began to deteriorate again. DISHA directed Reshma to lodge a complaint with the police and the court so that the accused’s family could stop harassing her. She had to go to the police station many times to lodge such a complaint. Eventually DISHA, with the help of the police station, forced the accused’s family to stop this illegal behavior.

The trial ended in Reshma’s favor and the accused was sentenced to ten years. Reshma was not happy with the verdict but did not have the mental capacity to appeal to the court again. 

Case 2: Sarla

At the regular help-desk, a Police Patil came with request to help ‘Sarla’ (name changed) – a ‘daughter-in-law’ living in her village Ittamgaon, Benoda block of Amravati district. But she seems to be a minor and now she is pregnant and her husband abuses her severely and keeps her away from the village so she can’t get help from anyone. Since she is their neighbor, she found out about it and she wants to help Sarla.

Upon hearing this, DISHA team confirmed that Sarla was a minor. DISHA team then directed the police to file a ‘mandatory report’ under Section 19 of the POCSO Act in which anyone with knowledge of child sexual abuse could lodge a complaint at the nearest police station. The team assured Police Patil of moral and social support and encouraged her to lodge a complaint. But instead Police Patil brought Sarla to the police station and encouraged her to lodge a complaint. When she arrived at the police station, Sarla explained her condition. She had no mother and her father was an alcoholic. Her cousin (Paternal Aunt’s Son) forcibly kept her at home without marrying her. He would beat her and often starve her. He locked her in the house so that she would not tell anyone about her condition.

Ignoring the seriousness of the case, the police in-charge said that the case was only a matter of marital dispute and is non-cognizance (NC). The social worker was convinced that Sarla urgently needed medical care and protection and it was not possible in her family, so she asked her father to produce Sarla before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Amravati to be in protective custody. 

On his request, DISHA team provided supportive accompany during the procedure and eventually Sarla was admitted to the children’s home by CWC and special care was taken for her delivery. After childbirth, Sarla decided to surrender her child to CWC as she was not fit to responsibility of a child. 

After admission of Sarla in the children’s home, her father contacted DISHA and said that the police had not yet lodged a complaint and that the perpetuator was harassing him. For this, DISHA team approached the Superintendent of Police Amravati and CWC for the inaction of the police in this case. Both the authorities took necessary action and after receiving orders from both the authorities, the police station in-charge lodged a complaint under the POCSO Act. 

The social worker felt that a case had been filed against the accused in the case, the victim was under the protection of the CWC in a safe place and now the work in the case was over. But destiny had set something different for Sarla.

During the regular telephone follow-up, social worker learned that her condition was critical and she was admitted to PDMC Hospital for some treatment.

So DISHA team visited Sarla and the doctor to find out about her condition. Doctor said her kidneys have been severely damaged and therefore she needs dialysis and her chances of saving are only 3 to 4%. Her financial situation made it unaffordable to seek treatment in a good hospital. On the one hand, the DISHA team began urging to dean to help her, and on the other, pushed the police to send her documents to avail Manodhairya scheme as earliest. If she gets the benefit of Manodhairya Yojana in time, she can be treated in a good hospital.

A few days later, the hospital staff informed that both her kidneys had failed and now she needed permanent dialysis and for that she had to be shifted to a super specialty hospital for further treatment. Following this guidance, the DISHA team helped her family move her to a super-specialty hospital and consulted a specialist doctor there. After the prescribed tests, the expert doctor gave a second opinion that her kidneys had not failed. She may be given medication and does not require dialysis.

During this treatment she had to stay in the hospital for couple of months and DISHA team helped her for medicine, meals, transportation, hospital bills etc. Meanwhile, she received Rs 30,000 under the Manodhairya scheme and was discharged from the hospital after 4 to 5 months. Now she is living with her father.

Case 3: Nisha

Nisha, a happy child was residing with her parents in Milind Nagar of Chandur Railway block in Amravati district. She had a hair patch on her hand at birth and no one had any idea that in a few years this patch would turn into a terrible rare disease known as ‘Werewolf Syndrome’. She was 5 years old at the time of sexual assault and used to go to the Anganwadi near her house regularly. The accused who tried to sexually assault her was 35 years old and was living near the Anganwadi. 

While Nisha was going to Anganwadi alone, the accused picked her up and took her home. He took off her clothes and when she was about to be abused, the Anganwadi worker heard her crying. The Anganwadi worker snatched her from the accused and lodged a complaint with the police. Police booked him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. 

When the social workers of DISHA visited the girl’s family, she looked very scared and upset. The social worker offered her parents ‘psychological first aid’ and spent time with her to get to know her. The social worker explained the process before the Special Court to her parents and asked them to call if there were any problems. As the case progressed, her parents openly shared their questions and concerns with DISHA. The organization provided legal assistance as needed to parents and formed a bond with the girl. Now Nisha started talking openly with the social workers of DISHA. 

Three or four months later, her mother called and told the social worker that the hairy patch on Nisha’s hand was constantly growing. This was also a new and surprising issue for social workers. Her mother further said that this new problem has made her very irritated and she is not even going to play with other children. Social workers immediately visited her and, seeing the seriousness of her condition, rushed her to Amravati’s Super Specialty Hospital. Doctors there diagnosed the disease as a rear skin disease and started medical treatment. DISHA and her parents together paid for her 3 to 4 operations in this regards. But even after this treatment, her right hand was completely covered with hair. When she began to realize that she looks different from other children, she began to live alone without mixing with other children. As her loneliness grew, her parents tried all sorts of scientific and non-scientific treatments. 

Within a year, her father died, and her mother accepted full responsibility. DISHA gave her mother some seed money to run a home-based business. She did not succeed in her endeavors, so she began working as a farm laborer. 

After nearly 3 years, the special court sentenced the accused to 10 years.

DISHA is still with them and provides educational support to Nisha and her brother every year. Every three months, social workers visit Nisha and her mother to boost their morale. Nisha is now in 4th class and her younger brother is in 2nd class.

Case 4: Sanju 

Sanju (age years, name changed) belongs to the Muslim community and lived with his mother, father and younger brother in a slum area of ​​Amravati city. His father was a construction worker. Also, at that time he was constantly going out for work. The economic situation was dire. At the time of the incident, all the children in the area were going to play next door as it was a school holiday in May. On the day of the incident, Sanju was playing at the house of the accused’s friend. Seeing that no one was there, the accused had ‘unnatural intercourse’ with Sanju and threatened not to tell anyone about it. The accused was a 22-year-old local goon. When Sanju looked calm and frightened, his mother asked him a question and he told her the truth. Sanju’s mother told this fact to all the members of the family. The accused and his brother then quarreled with Sanju’s family that he was lying and pressured the police not to go.

All these incidents frightened Sanju’s family and they put pressure on Sanju’s mother not to lodge a complaint with the police. Sanju’s father was also pressuring Sanju’s mother not to go to the police. But despite everyone’s opposition, Sanju’s mother lodged a complaint with the police. Police later arrested the accused after Sanju’s statement. After the arrest of the accused, the accused’s brother and neighbors threatened Sanju’s family to withdraw the case. Fed up with this constant mental distress, Sanju’s father became addicted to alcohol and started arguing with Sanju and his mother. Eventually, Sanju’s mother decided to leave her husband and live alone with her son. All this had a negative impact on Sanju. He began to be alone and quiet. At such times, Sanju was provided with psycho-social support by DISHA. Also, his family was given legal guidance.

In this case, the social worker of DISHA met the investigating officer and told him about the pressure of accused on victim. Due to the efforts of the police, the accused were not granted bail till the end of the trial. The entire case of the accused was run from jail.

Sanju’s family was informed by DISHA about the proceedings of the court from time to time, so that they would be with Sanju’s mother. DISHA also accepted responsibility for sunju’s education and tried to relieve him of his trauma by providing counseling from time to time. Sanju’s mother said the money received under Manodhairya was set aside for higher education of Sanju.

As a result, Sanju seems to be out of that situation today and his academic progress is excellent. He speaks in front of everyone without fear. He is determined to become a police officer. Today, Sanju and his family are recovering from this incident. As per the guidance given by DISHA from time to time, his mother is now in a private job and Sanju wants to join DISHA to help the victims like him. Today, Sanju is always at the forefront of various activities of DISHA.

Case 5: Mohan  

Mohan (age 30, name changed) was working as a waiter in a small canteen in Dattapur block of Amravati district. He was married to Sangita (age 25, name changed) and had two children with whom he lived near his parents’ house. 

This was Mohan’s mother’s second marriage. His real father had left him and his mother when he was very young. His mother married his stepfather when he was in ninth grade. Now he had a sister who is in school. Mohan’s parents arranged his marriage with Sangita just like everyone else in the world. The couple had two cute kids and started their home.

Once Mohan’s father had a quarrel with his mother and started residing with Mohan. While everything was going well, Mohan began to doubt Sagita’s behavior towards his father. He also told his mother about it but she didn’t believe him. Due to this, Mohan and Sangita started arguing. At 3 am on the day of the incident, Mohan’s father and wife strangled him to death and tried to dispose of the evidence by throwing his body in the canal. They spread rumors in the village that Mohan had disappeared. Mohan’s mother did not believe that her son was missing.

When Mohan’s body was found, the police launched an investigation and questioned his father. After interrogation, Mohan’s father confessed that he and Sangita had committed murder as Mohan was interfering in his and Sarika’s love affair. Later they both went to jail.

Mohan’s mother and sister were shocked to hear this. Mohan’s mother had lost her son, daughter-in-law and husband at the same time. Psychological first aid was first given when DISHA came in contact with her. She wanted both of them to be punished. The social worker explained the legal process to her and asked her to call if there were any problems. In her old age, she was left with the responsibility of her college going daughter and two younger grandchildren.  She needed to work for all three children so she started working as a domestic help. To help her, Mohan’s sister accepted a part-time job at a dispensary. 

Social workers asked her to apply for the Victim Compensation Scheme for the children’s future. Mohan’s mother may not get the benefit of the victim compensation scheme as her husband is the accused. However, DISHA is helping Mohan’s mother to apply for the compensation scheme for the benefit of Mohan’s minor children. 

 Also, since she was an old woman, she would not be able to carry out children’s responsibilities for a few more years. Therefore social worker suggested availing Bal Sangopan Yojana for her grandchildren (Grandson 5 years old, Granddaughter 2 years old). It takes a little longer to get the benefit of both these schemes but still they are necessary for the future of the children. Under the BAL SANGOPAN YOJANA of State Government, Mohan’s mother will be provided with Rs 425 per month per child as foster parent of her grandchildren. Although the amount is not big, it can support Mohan’s mother to take care of the children. 

Mohan’s mother was working hard to raise her grandchildren. Here, seven-eight months later, the court granted bail to Sangita so that she could take care of her children. Upon returning, Sangita threatened Mohan’s mother to take the children away. Sangita told Mohan’s mother that she would try to get bail for Mohan’s father so that the two could live together. Hearing this, Mohan’s mother trembled with fear. Mohan’s mother was afraid that Sangita would take the children and if they had any problem with them, they would kill the children too. Mohan’s mother called DISHA for help on phone. DISHA suggested Mohan’s mother to ask Sangita to bring a court order to take away the children. Since then, she has stopped demanding custody of the children and focused on getting Mohan’s father out of jail. Mohan’s mother has turned her attention to both children and wants to keep them safe and away from Sangita and Mohan’s father. 

Awards & Honors – Ashoka Fellowship to Mr Pravin Khandpasole 

Pravin, founder of DISHA while working with prisoners realized the need of ‘Victim Justice & Assistance’ in the Indian Criminal Justice System. Due to his training in ‘Social Work’, in-depth experience in actual field work and interest in research, he did a lot of work on ‘Victim Assistance’ in Maharashtra.

He studied the rights and assistance available to victims in countries around the world and sought similar ‘compensation’ in Maharashtra. For this, a ‘Maharashtra Victims Compensation Scheme’ was set up in the year 2014 to rehabilitate the victims in Maharashtra by filing a public interest litigation in the Mumbai High Court. Under this scheme, victims of murder, permanent disability and acid attack in Maharashtra can get compensation up to Rs 2 lakh.

He was awarded the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2014 for his outstanding work in making a state-level policy for ‘rehabilitation of victims’ in Maharashtra.

https://www.ashoka.org/en-in/fellow/pravin-khandpasole

Important committee positions

  • Jyoti Khandpasole, NGO member in Vishakha Committee, Anti-corruption Bureau,  Amravati Rural Police, Amravati  in year 2019 -2020
  • Jyoti Khandpasole, Counsellor, Bharosa Cell, Amravati Rural Police from 2019 
  • Jyoti Khandpasole, social worker, Bharosa Cell, Amravati Commissionerate from 2019
  • Pravin and Jyoti Khandpasole, Members of Special Juvenile Police Unit, Amravati Rural Police in year 2018-19

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