The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre's response on a PIL that contended that the top court's directions in 2013 to ban over-the-counter sale of acid at retail outlets was not being followed in its true spirit.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the response as the petitioner said that from 2010 to 2016, as many as 1,189 cases of over-the-counter sale of acid have been registered.
Putting acid within the ambit of the Poisons Act, 1919, and banning its over-the-counter sale, the top court in its July 18, 2013, directions said: "Over-the-counter sale of acid is completely prohibited unless the sellers maintain a log/register... which will contain the details of person(s) to whom acid(s) is/are sold, the quantity sold and shall contain the address of the person to whom it is sold."
The court had issued a number of directions, including that violation of its directions "shall attract prosecution under the Poisons Act, 1919, and that the (area) SDM shall be vested with the responsibility of fining violators and initiating prosecution."
Directing that no acid would be sold to any person below the age of 18, the court order also said that the seller would declare all stocks available with him to the Sub- Divisional Magistrate within 15 days from the date of notification of rules by the respective state governments.
The 2013 order also said the retail outlets with licence to sell acid will maintain stock registers, failing which or in case of possession of unaccounted acid will lead to a fine of Rs 50,000.
The 2013 direction came on a public interest litigation by acid attack victim Laxmi who sought regulation of acid sale as it was increasingly being used to attack young women by jilted/spurned lovers.
Laxmi had also sought treatment, after-care, rehabilitation and compensation to the acid attack victims by the government and deterrent punishment to the accused.
The top court in 2013 also directed for compensation of Rs 3 lakh by the government to each acid attack victim.
Of this, Rs one lakh was to be paid within 15 days of the incident, and balance Rs two lakhs within two months to facilitate their medical treatment.
However, by its December 7, 2015, order, the top court had said that compensation of Rs three lakh to acid attack victims by the states as ordered through the 2013 direction was the minimum amount and that the actual compensation would vary from case to case depending on the nature and severity of the injuries.
Currently, the Supreme Court is engaged in putting in place model rules for the award of compensation to victims of sexual offences and acid attacks across the country.
The top court by its October 12, 2017, order had entrusted the task of framing the model rules to the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA).
"We are of opinion that it would be appropriate if NALSA sets up a committee of about 4 or 5 persons who can prepare the model rules for victim compensation for sexual offences and acid attack ...", the top court had said.
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