Acid attack survivor accorded financial assistance by Kolkata High Court
Angura Bibi Versus State of West Bengal and Ors., W.P. 25972(w) of 2016, High Court at Calcutta The Petitioner, Angura Bibi, is an acid attack survivor. After the acid attack took place, she approached the State for financial assistance, for her rehabilitation and medical needs. However the State failed to give her the compensation she requested for, and accordingly, she was constrained to file a writ petition before the High Court at Calcutta, seeking the same. The State and the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA)entered an appearance in the case before the High Court. Pursuant to a direction passed by the Court, the SLSA disbursed a sum of Rs. 3 lakhs to the Petitioner. In the meantime, a medical board was also specially formed to examine her, and to determine the extent and percentage of her disability as a result of the acid attack. Pursuant to the above – mentioned direction passed by the Court, the Petitioner has submitted a number of medical bills to the State, for reimbursement of her medical expenses as a result of the attack. The matter is currently pending before the Court, and HRLN Kolkata continues to actively represent the Petitioner. Status (In court): Pending for further hearing. Key points of the order dated 15.02.2017 When deciding whether to issue a disability certificate and reimbursement of medical expenses to the Petitioner, the Court took into account a previous order passed by the High Court at Calcutta in W.P. No. 26542 (W) of 2015 (Rita Pal and Ors. v. The State of West Bengal and Ors.). In the said case, another Bench of the High Court had allowed acid attack survivors to apply for reimbursement to the Secretary (Home) and had issued a direction to the Government hospital to issue requisite disability certificates. In the present case, the Court relied upon the order in Rita Pal and Ors., and directed that the Secretary (Home) make necessary reimbursements within four weeks from the date of application for the same, to be made by the Petitioner. The Court additionally directed the Director, SSKM Hospital, to constitute a medical board to consider the grant of a disability certificate, within seven days from the date of receipt of a request for the same, to be made by the Petitioner. The Court specified that the Petitioner would not only be entitled to reimbursement of the expenses for the medical examination to be conducted on her but would also be entitled to travel expenses that would be incurred. The Court directed that the medical board issue the relevant disability certificate to the Petitioner within a fortnight from the date of conclusion of the medical examination.