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Court sets March 31 deadline for States to frame acid sale rules

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all States to put in place by March 31, 2014 draft rules for regulating sale of acids and other corrosive substances.

By a July 18 order, a Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph had prohibited over-the-counter sale of acid, unless the seller kept a log to record transactions with details of buyers, including their address, and the quantity sold.

The court told the Centre and the States/Union Territories to work towards making acid attacks cognisable and non-bailable offences under the Poison Act, 1919. “All States and Union Territories that have not yet framed rules will do well to make rules … in line with the model rules framed by the Central Government. The States, which have framed rules that are not as stringent as the model rules, will make necessary amendments to their rules…”

As the compensation notified by 17 States and seven Union Territories was negligible, the Bench directed all States to pay victims Rs. 3 lakh each towards treatment and rehabilitation.

Treatment free in Haryana, Puducherry

At 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 the Union Territory of Puducherry had complied with the July 18 order and laid down the rules. Ms. Bhat said Haryana provided for 100 per cent free treatment and a scheme for plastic/corrective surgery and psychological treatment. In Puducherry, acid victims were treated free.

The Bench asked the Advocates-on-record of Haryana and Puducherry to make available their schemes to all the other States to enable them to respond

Whenever an FIR was filed, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the area concerned would go into acid procurement by the accused, the Bench said.

The matter has been listed for April 15, 2014.

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