The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all the States and Union Territories to put in place by March 31, 2014 the draft rules to regulate the sale of acids and other corrosive substances.
By an order dated July 18, a three-judge Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph had completely prohibited ‘over the counter’ sale of acid, “unless the seller maintains a log/register recording the sale of acid which will contain the details of the person to whom acid is sold, the quantity sold and shall contain the address of the person to whom it is sold.”
The court had said that the Centre and States/Union Territories should work towards making the acid attack offences under the Poison Act, 1919 cognisable and non-bailable.
The court said “all the States and Union Territories which have not yet framed rules will do well to make rules to regulate sale of acid and other corrosive substances in line with the Model Rules framed by the Central Government. The States, which have framed rules but these rules are not as stringent as the Model Rules framed by the Central Government will make necessary amendments in their rules to bring them in line with the Model Rules.”
Taking into consideration the fact that the compensation notified by 17 States and seven Union Territories for acid attack victims were negligible, the Bench had directed all the States to pay Rs. 3 lakhs as compensation to the acid attack victims towards medical treatment and after care rehabilitation.
During the resumed hearing on Tuesday counsel for the Centre Wasim Qadri and counsel for the petitioner Aparna Bhat informed the court that only three States and Union Territory of Puducherry had complied with the last order and put in place the rules. Ms. Bhat said Haryana had provided for 100 per cent free treatment of the acid victims and there was a scheme for medical treatment for plastic/corrective surgery and to provide psychological treatment. She also said in Puducherry free treatment was provided to acid victims.
The Bench asked the Advocates on record of Haryana and Puducherry to make available the respective schemes to all the States to enable them to respond. The Bench directed all the States to put in place the Model Rules by March 31, 2014.
The bench also directed that whenever an FIR was lodged in an acid attack case, the SDM of the area concerned would hold an enquiry into the procurement of acid by the accused. The bench directed listing of the matter on April 15, 2014.