A judgment by a sessions court last December might serve as a deterrent to acid attacks.

Three persons involved in the crime were sentenced to life imprisonment. In another case, thanks to the intervention of the Madras High Court, the State government provided a job to a victim of an acid attack, an M.Phil-degree holder, on compassionate grounds.

On May 25, 2003, after her betrothal ceremony Nirmala, then 22, was in an autorickshaw with her sister and grandparents when, at the New Avadi Road junction, Jithendra Degra who was in another autorickshaw, intercepted her vehicle and poured concentrated acid on Nirmala and the others with her. Degra was angry about Nirmala’s decision to marry another man.

In the judgment, the sessions judge wrote that the injuries resulted in the girl losing her vision. Her face was disfigured. The court also directed the convicted persons to pay a fine of Rs. 40,000 each, of which Rs. 1.05 lakh would have to be given to the victim.

In another case, G. Valentina of Villupuram district was in class IX when Dhansekar trespassed into her house and threw acid on her face. The Madras High Court confirmed a sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment against the attacker. It also directed the government to give the victim a suitable job.