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SC notice on acid attack rehab
States asked to respond in 4 weeks

New Delhi, July 25: The Supreme Court today issued notices to all states and Union territories on a plea for framing a rehabilitation package for acid attack victims.

A bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices Kurien Joseph and R.F. Nariman sought a response within four weeks on the PIL filed by an NGO, Parivartan Foundation, complaining that no such guidelines exist despite the apex court’s earlier direction that an immediate assistance of Rs 3 lakh shall be given to acid attack victims.

“Yes, we are regularly reading in newspapers about such incidents,” Justice Lodha observed.

On December 3 last year, the apex court had granted time till March 31, 2014, to all states and Union territories to put in place rules for “regulating sale of acid and other corrosive substances” to prevent their misuse, in view of the increasing acid attacks.

The apex court had also suggested that the states and Union territories can consider adopting the model policy introduced by Haryana and Puducherry, which had both said they would bear 100 per cent cost of treatment and rehabilitation of the victims.

The court had on July 18 last year virtually banned “over-the-counter” sale of acid throughout the country, with a series of guidelines and directed that states shall provide immediate financial assistance of Rs 3 lakh to all acid attack victims in future.

The guidelines, among other things, make it mandatory for the seller to possess a licence to sell the substance and for the buyer to be a local resident who has to show a photo-identity card and proof of residence. The sellers also need to inform the local police station on sale details within three days. Dealers have to update the local sub divisional officer (SDM) on stock details of acid every 15 days. Undeclared stocks can be seized and a fine up to Rs 50,000 can be levied.

The Rs 3 lakh compensation ordered by the apex court would be in addition to the Rs 10 lakh fine announced by the Centre in the amended Section 326A of the IPC (Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2013).

The modalities of payment are yet to be worked out.

The apex court had passed the earlier order while dealing with a PIL filed by Laxmi, an acid attack survivor in Delhi.