6 years after SC ban, acid still being sold openly
Lucknow More than six years after the country’s top court ordered a ban on open sale of acid , the vitriolic substance which has been the instrument of many assaults continues to sell like any other commodity in the market. The ban on the sale of acid from open counters was imposed in 2013.
Shops on Aishbagh Waterworks Road sell the dangerous liquid without asking for identity cards or purpose of purchase .
The acid is available in a general store of Natkhera Alambagh which sells it without confirming the identity of a buyer.
The acid is also made available on demand by shopkeepers in posh Gomti Nagar, Patrakarpuram, Indira Nagar, Mahanagar and Lalbagh. Here mostly car and scooter mechanics come to purchase acid.
Advocate Prashant Kumar said, ” Making a law is useless until it is implemented in its true spirit. Similar is for implementation of court directives. Our state is trying to tackle the problem of acid attack, so law enforcing agencies, especially police and intelligence, will have to be very strict.”
He said, “ Acid attacks are not like normal crimes. They are the handiwork of individuals with a perverted mentality . Such people become blind and insensitive so they need to be identified and injurious substances like acid or arms must be kept away from them.”
The advocate said, “ Till 2013, there was no separate provision in the Indian Penal Code to charge those accused of acid attacks, nor were there rules restricting sale and purchase of acid. But after the Supreme Court directives to regulate the sale of harmful substances like acid, the government declared acid attacks a cognizable offence under Section 326 (A) of the Indian Penal Code with punishment up to 10 years. The Supreme Court ordered strict restrictions on the sale of acid which were seldom followed.”‘
According to the guidelines of the Supreme Court , the seller and purchaser must have a license and shops selling acid must maintain a record of sale and purchase. The SC order also made it mandatory for the shopkeepers to record the reasons for purchase, said Prashant Kumar.