Legal and administrative framework to check acid attacks
The Government has taken a number of steps in the past to regulate sale of acid, increase punishment for perpetrators of acid attack, compensation for the victims etc. However, more needs to be done as victims of acid attack suffer a lot. The Government has been receiving suggestions from various corners to not only contain the menace of acid attack but also create a mechanism for quick relief and rehabilitation of the acid attack victims.
Showing utmost concern to the victims of acid attacks, the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh has approved the following measures to strengthen legal and administrative framework to check acid attacks:
• In order to regulate the sale of acid, a web application having functionalities like registration of stockists and retailers, issue of licenses by the District administration, targeting sale of acid to individuals only after recording personal details like proof of identity and proof of address of the purchaser will be developed. This measure will considerably reduce unauthorized sale of acid in the country.
• The victims of acid attack need to be treated by the hospitals in a hassle free manner. The Ministry of Home Affairs will develop a new mechanism in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Finance and Insurance companies so that the victims of acid attacks are treated on cashless basis and the treatment amount is paid from the Central Victim Compensation Fund which is proposed to be set up by MHA.
• All such cases where maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence is possible will be categorized as ‘Heinous Crimes’. As per Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, trial of offences under Section 376A-D of IPC, are to be completed within 60 days. Extending this provision further, suitable amendments in CrPC will be made for time bound investigation and trial of all cases related to heinous crimes.
• Government also proposes to bring suitable amendments in law to fix time frame for disposal of appeals by courts especially in cases of heinous crimes including acid attack to ensure speedy justice.
• Steps will be taken to include acid attack victims in the category of Physically Challenged Persons/persons with disability so that they are able to access the benefits of reservation, training, self-employment loan etc. as admissible to the physically challenged persons. This will help in rehabilitation of acid attack victims.