As more and more women become victims of acid attacks, the Law Commission has recommended adding a specific provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make such acts punishable with imprisonment, which may extend up to life, and with maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh. The fine would go to the victim.
In its 226th report, the commission suggested the offence should be made cognisable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a sessions court. It also recommended ban on open sale of acid and strict regulation for its distribution and sale.
The commission, which was a party to the PIL filed by an acid attack victim, Laxmi, suggested enactment of a law to set up ‘Criminal Injuries Compensation Boards’ at the central, state and district levels across the country to provide both interim and final monetary compensation to victims of acid attacks, rape and other sexual assaults.
Under the proposed Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, the board provide for victims’ medical and other expenses relating to rehabilitation, loss of earnings, etc. However, any compensation already received by the victim can be taken into account while computing compensation.
Noting that an acid attack accused in India normally gets inadequate punishment in the absence of a specific law, the Law Commission recommended that a separate provision — ‘Section 326 A’ — be added to the IPC.
Generally an acid attack accused is booked under Section 326 of the IPC that deals with grievous hurt and attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years plus fine.
The commission has now recommended that causing hurt by acid attack as well as intentionally throwing or administering acid be made punishable.