New Delhi: Chief Secretaries of four states, against whom contempt notices were issued earlier, on Wednesday appeared in person in the Supreme Court and said they have filed responses on the issue of treatment and rehabilitation of acid attack victims.
A bench comprising M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan took note of the statements of the top officers from Kerala, Karnataka, Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh, and discharged them from appearing personally before it.
It fixed the final hearing on a PIL, filed by Bihar-based NGO Parivartan Kendra seeking court's direction on the rehabilitation of the victims, in the third week of November.
The court, on September 9, had issued show cause notices against governments of Kerala, Karnataka, Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for not filing replies to a slew of directions it had issued to take care of acid attack victims.
It had asked the Chief Secretaries of the four states to appear and file their responses to the contempt notices within two weeks and posted the matter for today.
Earlier, the court had given two weeks more "as a last chance" to certain states for filing counter affidavits.
"In the event, this order is not complied with, then Chief Secretary of the respective defaulting States and the Union Territories shall appear in person before this Court on September 9, the next date of hearing," it had said.
Prior to this, the court had come to the aid of acid attack survivors by issuing several major directions including ordering all private hospitals across the country to provide free treatment, including medicines and expensive reconstruction surgeries, to such victims.
It had asked all state governments and Union Territories to "take up the matter with the private hospitals" to ensure that acid attack victims are attended to immediately and adequately.
The hospitals, where such victims are rushed after the incident, would have to provide a certificate stating that the person was an acid attack victim. This document would enable her or him to access free treatment, including surgeries, at a later stage, the apex court had directed.
On the banning of off-the-counter acid sale across the country, it had asked all states and UTs to notify acid as a "scheduled substance" to stop its unregulated sale.
The court had also said its order should be sent to Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs, who in turn, would ensure that it reached District Magistrates for compliance and directed them to publicise it to ensure awareness among the people.