The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to convene a meeting of chief secretaries of all States and Union Territories in six weeks for evolving a consensus in regard to the regulation of sale of acid in the States/Union Territories to prevent acid attacks.

A three-Judge bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, J. Chelameswar and Madan B. Lokur gave this direction to the Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran who submitted to the court the progress made in the earlier meeting.

The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Laxmi, a victim of acid attack, in which a plea was made to regulate the sale of acids across the country.

Mr. Parasaran submitted that 13 States of Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Odihsa, Rajasthan, Sikki, Triupura and West Bengal had issued notification for victim compensation scheme in their States and other States had been reminded to follow the scheme.

He said the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 which had received the assent of the President had Sections 326 A and 326 B in the Indian Penal Code for making acid attack a specific offence, providing a maximum punishment of life sentence.

Regarding convening a meeting of the Chief Secretaries to discuss the enactment of an appropriate provision for effective regulation of sale of acid in the States/UTs, he said the Home Secretary had requested the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers to examine the feasibility of setting up an expert group to consider the possibility of enacting a legislation for banning free sale over the counter of acid. It was in this context that the Bench directed the Centre to convene the meeting in six weeks and adjourned the proceedings.

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