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SC steps in to stop acid attacks, help victims

SC steps in to stop acid attacks, help victims
The Supreme Court on Thursday  directed that acid attack victims shall be paid a compensation of at least Rs three lakh by the state government concerned as an after-care and rehabilitation cost. The order came by a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha which said the states and Union Territories, which have not regulated acid sale, to issue guidelines based on the model draft rules framed by the central government.

The court also said that out of the compensation amount of Rs three lakh, Rs one lakh will be paid within 15 days of the occurrence of the attack being brought to the notice of the state government. The bench, which was hearing a PIL filed in 2006 by Delhi-based acid attack victim Laxmi who was then a minor, also passed a slew of interim directions on various issues including sale of acids.

‘The balance of Rs two lakh shall be paid by the state or Union Territory concerned as expeditiously as possible and positively within two months of the incident,’ it said, adding that the compliance of the order has to be ensured by the chief secretaries of the states and administrators of the UTs respectively.

The bench, in its interim directions, said that the licensed seller of acids and corrosive substances will have to maintain a log/register pertaining to the sale of such material. It said that the register shall contain the addresses of the persons to whom such substances have been sold.
Photo identity card, containing residential address, issued by the authorities would be required for purchasing such substances which in any case cannot be sold to a person who is below the age of 18 years, the court said. It also said that sellers will have to disclose their stock to the authorities concerned, otherwise the undeclared stock would be confiscated and ‘a suitable fine of up to Rs 50,000 shall be imposed on such sellers’.

However, the court said that educational institutes, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments and public sector undertakings could acquire in bulk acids and corrosive substances by following certain guidelines.

The court also made it clear that there shall be compulsory checking of student/personnel who have been allowed access to such places. During the hearing, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran said that the states of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have already framed rules to regulate the sale of acids and corrosive substances.
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