With the Supreme Court asking the Centre to restrict sale of acid in view of growing acid attacks across the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is all set to notify ‘The Poisons Possession And Sales Rules, 2013’, thereby including at least a dozen acids in the list of poisons to curb their sale.
The acids identified under the category are — acetic acid, phosphoric acid, hydrofluoric acid, perchloric acid, formic acid, oxalic acid, perchloride of mercury (corrosive sublimate). Similarly, the sale of sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid, hydrocyanic acid, nitric acid, potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide will also be restricted.
The MHA will soon alert all the States on the Supreme Court’s directions, which say that only a license holder will be able to sell acid, and that too after obtaining proper identity proof documents from the purchaser. Besides identifying acids that will have restricted sale, the rules also lay down terms and conditions form sale-purchase and storage of acids.
While acid should not be sold to a person below 18 years, the license holder (seller) will have to identify to his satisfaction the purchaser’s identity through a photo identity card that mentions the purchaser’s address. The seller will also have to “ascertain before selling any poison the name, telephone and address of the purchaser and the purpose for which the poison is purchased.”
According to a senior MHA official, the Ministry has decided to exercise the powers conferred by Sections 2 and 8 of the Poison Act, (Act 12 of 1919). This will empower States “to regulate possession for sale and sale of acids.” Violation of these rules can land the licensee a three month jail sentence for the first conviction and six months for the second and subsequent convictions.