In a first, Delhi HC directs DLSA to award full compensation to male acid attack survivor under Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme
Durjan Singh vs Govt of NCT of Delhi and ORS The decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 17.08.2017 in the matter of Durjan Singh v. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) is a landmark judgment, wherein for the first time a male acid attack survivor was awarded full compensation under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2015. The court directed for the scheme to be applied retrospectively, i.e., the benefit of the scheme, which was implemented in 2015, was given to the victim who was attacked in 2008, years prior to the implementation of the scheme. In 2008, the survivor, Durjan Singh was returning after dropping his granddaughter at her school when he was attacked by an unknown assailant. The attacker, who was riding a two wheeler, immediately fled after attacking him. The attack rendered Durjan Singh completely blind. In 2011, the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme was implemented by the Government of NCTD and in pursuance of this, Durjan Singh approached various government authorities asking to be compensated, but to no avail. Later, he approached social activist Shaheen Malik associated with HRLN, with the hope of receiving relief in terms of both treatment and compensation. In 2016, an application was made on behalf of the Durjan Singh to the District Legal Services Authority, Delhi, but was rejected on two arbitrary grounds, first, that the assailant was unknown to the victim and second, that the compensation scheme which was adopted in 2011 could not be made applicable to cases of acid attack prior to 2011. However, following this, in terms of decision rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Laxmi v. Union of India, an amount of Rs. 3 lakhs was awarded to the survivor as mandatory compensation, but no further assistance was granted thereafter. After being turned away by the DSLA, Delhi, a writ petition was filed by the victim in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi praying for further compensation as per the Victims Compensation Scheme, 2015, on account of the irreparable injury he had suffered and the resultant loss in employment. The High Court disposed of the matter with directions to the DSLA, Delhi, to peruse the Durjan Singh’s claim, and if the claim was verified, DSLA would have to grant compensation in terms of the said scheme. It was consequent to this decision that the DSLA, Delhi, under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2015, awarded full compensation of Rs. 7 lakhs to the victim for sustaining more than 50% injury in the acid attack.