Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 9 JULY: The Supreme Court today slammed the Centre for not being “serious” about framing a policy to curb sale of acid in order to prevent acid attack cases.
A Bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said that people are dying everyday due to acid attacks but the Centre has failed to frame a policy despite assurance given by it on the last hearing on 16 April.
“Seriousness is not seen on the part of government in handling the issue,” the Bench said, while granting one week’s time as a last opportunity to the Centre to frame policy in consultation with state governments.
“People are dying, but you are not worried about it. Think of people who are losing their lives everyday. Girls are being attacked everyday in different parts of the country,” the Bench said.
It also said, “with heavy heart this court had passed order in April, but the government failed to come out with any scheme to curb sale of acid in the market.
The Bench made it clear that if the Centre fails to come out with such a scheme on the next date of hearing, 16 July, then it would pass orders.
On 16 April, the apex court had said it will wait for the Centre and the state governments to explore ways to regulate sale of acids for domestic use before it imposes a ban on the chemical.
Earlier, on 6 February, the court had directed the Centre to convene in six weeks a meeting of Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to hold discussion for enacting a law to regulate the sale of acids and a policy for treatment, compensation and care and rehabilitation of such victims.
The Bench had said that for evolving such a policy, the
secretary, ministry of chemical and fertilisers, and
secretaries concerned from the states would be involved.
The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2006 by Delhi-based acid attack victim Ms Laxmi, who was then a minor. Her arms, face and other body parts were disfigured in the acid attack.
In her plea, Ms Laxmi had sought framing of a new law or amendment to the existing criminal laws like IPC, Indian Evidence Act and CrPC for dealing with the offence, besides asking for compensation.
Ms Laxmi was subjected to acid attack by three youths near Tughlaq Road here as she had refused to marry one of them, according to the petition. The trial is going on for the offence of attempt to murder and two of the accused are out on bail.
In her petition, she had pleaded for a total ban on sale of acid as there were increasing number of incidents of such attacks on women in different states.
The petitioner had also submitted that even a small country like Bangladesh had taken measures to prevent such attacks.
On 2 July last year, the apex court had asked the Centre to apprise it of the measures to regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse as a weapon, particularly against women.
The court had asked the Union home ministry on 29 April last year to coordinate with the states and union territories for formulation of an appropriate scheme.
The apex court had also sought responses of the Centre and state governments on whether any suitable scheme can be prepared by them to provide adequate compensation to the victims for their treatment and rehabilitation.