The right to life, which includes the right to live with dignity, is guaranteed to every person under the Constitution of India. The inherent dignity of the human being and the right of protection from any form of violence against women also forms part of India's international obligations under instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Further, the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of
Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985 recognizes the need to respect the dignity of the victim and their entitlement to prompt redress for the harm suffered through access to the criminal justice system, reparation and support services to assist their recovery.
Rape is one of the most violent forms of crimes against women, which not only impacts her bodily integrity but in the long-run, impairs her capacity to develop meaningful personal and social relationships, and affects her life and livelihood. The victim of rape suffers mental and psychological trauma, which must be addressed so that she is able to lead a dignified and meaningful life.
While it is essential to provide punishment to the perpetrators of such heinous crimes, the victim must be restored to a position of dignity and self-confidence. It is this principle of restorative justice that must form the basis of efforts to address the trauma that the affected woman goes through and may entail compensation in the form of financial assistance as well as various support services such as counseling, shelter, medical and legal aid. In doing so, the pain, suffering and shock, as well as loss of earnings due to
pregnancy occurring as a result of rape and allied expenses would need to be given due consideration.