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After a dressing down from the Supreme Court, the Union home ministry (MHA) has decided to examine all the measures taken by it with regard to speedy rehabilitation of acid attack victims. The ministry will also nudge the states accordingly, but officials say their options are limited as most of the steps fall within the jurisdiction of states.
“Following Supreme Court directives, the ministry in September had issued a detailed advisory to all states and union territories. The rest of the steps were to be taken by the states,” said a home ministry source.
The Centre will again ask the states for strict compliance of the earlier directives from the SC.
Ministry sources said that in compliance with Supreme Court’s instructions, all central government hospitals were told to treat acid attack victims free of cost. The ministry of health and family welfare had also issued an advisory to all states, since health is a state subject, with regard to the provision of free medical treatment and rehabilitation for acid attack survivors.
The states were also told that since such victims need to undergo a series of plastic surgeries, beds could be set aside for them at the apex state tertiary hospitals.
Apart from this, following the court’s directives, MHA had also asked the states to ban over-the-counter sale of acid and impose a fine of Rs50,000 on acid sellers if they fail to maintain a register on personal information of buyers. This ban is still flouted in many states and, by and large, the sale of acid is still unchecked in a number of areas in the country.
“We formulated model poison rules, and after reviewing them the SC issued further instructions to the states. But rule-making powers lie with the states; they need to act. In the interim, we told the states to adopt measures to regulate the sale of acid,” added the source.