“Life is priceless” and no court can value it in monetary terms, the Supreme Court observed Wednesday while dealing with a matter related to compensation scheme for victims of sexual assault and acid attacks.
The observation by a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur came when a lawyer questioned the compensation scheme of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) as per which women who suffered of sexual assault or acid attacks get a minimum compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a maximum of Rs 10 lakh in case of loss of life.
“No court can value life. Life is priceless,” the bench, which also comprised Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, said.
The counsel, who has filed a plea on the issue related to acid attacks victims, said compensation amount for such victims should be fixed for a particular category of offence and it should not vary.
The lawyer argued that if a woman was raped, the amount of compensation should not be varying as given in the NALSA scheme as per which the minimum has been fixed at Rs 4 lakh while the maximum is Rs 7 lakh.
She said cases of rape, gang-rape and loss of life in such incidents cannot be categorised in percentage as far as the amount of compensation was concerned.
To this, the bench observed, “The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has made a difference between an offence of rape and gang rape”.
The lawyer said the court should decide on having a fixed amount of compensation to such victims.
“We have to look at some principles. It cannot be totally that it has to be a fixed amount,” the bench said.
The lawyer also argued that acid attack survivors were not getting jobs and there was no redressal of the ordeal faced by them.
She also said that the sale of acid has not stopped in the market despite orders of the top court.
The counsel appearing for NALSA said they have a special scheme for acid attack victims which include “one window facility” for them and also as to how they should be treated.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand to look into the issues raised by the petitioner and posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.