NHRC Rejects Odisha Govt’s Contention Over Providing Compensation To Rape Victim

BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has rejected the contention of Odisha government over exemption from paying compensation to a rape victim, who was subjected to the crime in a government run health centre in Damapada area of Cuttack.

The commission asked the Chief Secretary to comply its order within six weeks.

Acting on a petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra of Global Human Rights Communication, NHRC has sought action taken report.

Under the Commission’s direction, Health and Family Welfare Secretary had contended that the contractual doctor Bhagaban Sahu, who has committed the crime u/s 354/367 IPC vide Banki PS case No. 186/2014, has been terminated from his services and action will be taken as per law.

The Commission has been requested to exempt the Odisha government from making any payment as compensation to the victim as the accused is a contractual staff, and a not a government staff. The undertaking has also been filed that the Government of Odisha is fully committed to taking care that there shall be no violation of human rights in respect of any person irrespective of sex.

It is thus urged that the Commission should consider the issue of exemption from making compensation.
The Commission rejected the state’s contention, and observed “when it is established that an employee, be it on contractual basis, of the Government who happens to be a public servant, violates the human rights of a victim by outraging her modesty during course of his employment, the Government is vicariously liable to make compensation to the victim. Therefore, the question of exemption of the Government from making compensation does not arise.”

“Therefore, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Odisha is directed to submit compliance after making necessary compensation to the victim within six weeks positively.”

Earlier, the Chief Secretary was asked show cause u/s 18 of the PHR Act, 1993 as to why a monetary compensation of Rs. 50,000/- should not be recommended to the victim within six weeks.

Notably, a woman patient had come for her treatment in government health centre at Damapada under Cuttack District on 24th July 2014. She was attended by Doctor Bhagavan Sahu. He asked the woman patient into a room for checking.

On the pretext of checking, the doctor opened her saree and inappropriately touched her private part. When she resisted, the doctor forcefully sexually assaulted her and threatened to face dire consequences for disclosure of the incident, said the petitioner.