Considering the increasing incidents of acid attack across the country, the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that it would pass appropriate interim directions on Thursday to regulate the retail sale of acid.
A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and S.J. Mukhopadhaya, hearing a writ petition filed by acid attack victim Laxmi, asked Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran and counsel Aparna Bhat to give draft suggestions for the consideration of the court to issue the directions.
During the resumed hearing Justice Lodha told Mr. Parasaran that “it [acid attack] is happening every day. Even today we read in newspapers about an incident in Delhi. What have you [Centre] done.”
The SG said subsequent to the orders passed on April 16 the Centre convened a meeting of the representatives of the States on April 18 and 22 and this was followed by another meeting on July 10 [after the July 9 order]. He said the options for regulation of retail sale of acid were discussed and it was noted that acids were widely used in households, vehicles for batteries, offices, laboratories as well as for commercial use necessitating retail sale.
Mr. Parasaran said Model Rules — the Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013 — under the Poisons Act were framed and proposed to be sent to the States for adoption. He said since Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka and Kerala already formulated statutory rules to regulate sale of acids, the Model rules would be applicable to rest of the States. The Rules provide for possession of licence to sell acids.
Counsel Aparna Bhat suggested that only those with ration cards should be allowed to purchase certain specified quantify of acids from a licence holder.
To a question from Justice Lodha whether the States were agreeable to implementing the Model Rules, Mr. Parasaran replied in the affirmative.