The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday directed the Punjab government to frame a policy for free treatment of acid attack victims, at least on the pattern of the Haryana government's policy.
The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice RK Jain while hearing three public interest litigations filed by advocate HC Arora, taking up cases of three acid attack victims Inderjit Kaur of Morinda (Rupnagar district), Neha Takkar of Chandigarh and Paramjit Kaur of Bathinda. Inderjit was present in the court during the hearing on Monday.
In its policy, the Haryana government had identified some hospitals for free treatment of such victims.
Taking a serious view of repeated adjournments being taken by the Punjab government in the case, the bench said, "Victims are not beggars. If you don't frame a policy for them, then this court can frame such a policy."
The petitioner had sought directions to the government authorities for free medical treatment, including plastic surgery, and reasonable compensation to the victims. Arora had informed the court that it was not practically feasible for an acid attack victim from a poor or middle-class family to bear the expenses of plastic surgery, generally amounting to Rs. 25-30 lakh.
Arora has also suggested to the court that while granting bail to criminals involved in acid attacks, the courts concerned should incorporate the condition of making substantial payment by the accused for the victim's plastic surgery and other treatment.
When Arora informed the court that even the Chandigarh administration had not framed any such policy, the court also impleaded the UT administration as one of the parties in the case and directed it to file its reply.
The case would now come up for hearing on May 8.