HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Acid attacks: a look at India and other countries

Zehra Kazmi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 19, 2013
First Published: 20:13 IST(19/7/2013) | Last Updated: 22:19 IST(19/7/2013)

India passed a new law in February following the Delhi gang rape case which also ciminalises acid attacks. The law defines acid attack as a separate Indian Penal Code offence and proposes punishment of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life imprisonment for perpetrators and fine that could go up to Rs.10 lakh.


The Supreme Court on 18 July, 2013 passed the order to regulate the sale of acids across the country. The decision was taken in the light of a PIL which was filed in 2006 by Laxmi, an acid attack victim from Delhi.

Henceforth, acid attack shall be considered a non-bailable offence. State governments will have to pay Rs. 3 lakh as compensation to an acid attack victim.

Afghanistan passed the Elimination of Violence against Women Law (EVAW) in 2009. It is the first law in Afghanistan to criminalise violence against women, including acid attacks. According to this law, the attacker gets a punishment of at least 10 years of imprisonment and at most life imprisonment.

Pakistan is yet to pass the ‘Acid Throwing and Burn Crime Bill 2012’ which was drafted after Fakhra Younas, an acid attack victim from Karachi, committed suicide.
The new bill stipulates a minimum sentence of 14 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and fines up to 1 million Pakistani rupees ($10,200). Activists are campaigning to include compensation to survivors.

In February, Saving Face, a documentary by a Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen  Obaid-Chinoy won an Academy Award. The film sheds light on the lives of acid-attack survivors in Pakistan.

Bangladesh: The Acid Crime Control Act 2002 imposes death penalty on the culprits. A decrease in the number of acid attacks has been witnessed ever since the act came into being. The Acid Crime Prevention Act 2002 regulates the sales of acid across the country.

Cambodia: Acid control law-adopted in December 2011. Not only women, but cases of acid attacks on men are equally high in the country.

Uganda has witnessed a high number of acid attacks, amongst African countries. As such there is no specific law to stop acid attacks in Uganda, but it has been criminalised under Penal Code Act Cap 120.

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