The Karnataka High Court has taken serious objection to the state government for not releasing compensation to survivors of sexual harassment. The court has issued a warning that if the compensation amount is not released immediately, the Principal Secretary of the Woman and Child Welfare Department has to appear before the court in the next hearing.
The division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraju gave the order on Monday, January 3 while looking into the petition by The People's Movement against Sexual Assault Association, working for the welfare of survivors of sexual assault.
The counsel appearing for the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) informed the court that the government has not released compensation for survivors despite the order by the High Court in this regard.
The High Court had directed the state government on March 19, 2020 to release funds for compensation for the survivors to the KSLSA. For this purpose, the KSLSA has sought funds of Rs 20 crore. However, the government has cited an economic crisis for not disbursing the funds. The court had again directed the government to release at least a quarter of the amount by May 2020. However, the government is yet to release any amount, the KSLSA said.
The Bengaluru-based organisation The People's Movement against Sexual Assault Association, which has submitted the petition in this regard, has claimed that survivors of sexual harassment and assault do not have access to security and other facilities.
The association has also demanded in the petition free medical facilities, establishment of fast track courts to dispose sexual assault cases speedily, restrictions on media to protect the dignity of women and ensuring security of the survivors at the work place.