The Supreme Court’s four-month-old direction to states and union territories (UT) to regulate sale of acid continues to be on paper. Despite strong observations against the growing incidents of acid attacks only one of the seven UTs and 28 states has complied with the SC directives.
A three-member special bench headed by justice RM Lodha had on July 18 ordered all states and UTs to notify the Centre’s model rules to regulate the sale of acid. It had “hoped” the order would be complied within three months.
Advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing for an acid attack victim and petitioner Laxmi – who moved SC in 2006 to ban acid sale in open market and demanded compensation for such victims – informed the court that only Puducherry had complied with the order. “Uttarakhand, J&K and Bihar have stated in their affidavit that the rules have been put up for seeking public opinion,” Bhat said.
Concerned at the non-compliance, the bench re-issued its directions and ordered state chief secretaries and administrators of UTs to comply with its order by March 31, 2014.
The court also sought the states’ view on the petitioner’s submission that local governments should bear medical expenses incurred by an acid attack victim. This should be separate from one-time compensation for her. SC had on the last date of hearing fixed Rs 3 lakh as compensation for such victims.
It directed Haryana government place its scheme before the court under which the state bears the cost of medical treatment for an acid attack victim. The court asked the Centre to circulate Haryana’s scheme to chief secretaries of other states for their views on it.
A direction was also issued to the police to immediately inform the SDM of the area where acid attack is reported to enable him probe on how the alleged attacker procured the corrosive substance.