Acid attack: SC rules out total ban on free sale of acid

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 18:08

New Delhi: Concerns over growing instances
of acid-hurling on women notwithstanding, the Supreme Court
on Wednesday ruled out ordering a total ban on free sale of acid
saying such an action is not possible as various state
governments have expressed their reservations about it.

"The ban on free sale of acid is not possible. There
can be restrictive and permissible sale as state governments
have different view," a Bench comprisng Chief Justice K G
Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said.
"The issue falls in the state subject. Unless state
governments co-operate, little could be done," the Bench said
asking the petitioner`s counsel to implead state governments
in the matter and posted the hearing after three weeks on
October 30.

The remarks by the Bench on the issue came after
Additional Solicitor General Mohan Prasaran said the idea of
complete ban on free sale of acid has not found favour with
state governments.

However, advocate Aparna Bhat, who is pressing for
complete ban on free sale of acid since 2006, alleged the
Centre has not done anything when incidents of acid attacks
increased manifold.
She said now the roadblocks have come from state
government without realising that in the last four months
there have been many incidents when young girls became victim
of acid attacks.

"The Centre is not taking corrective steps," she
charged.

Bhatt said she was not against industrial sale of acid
but favoured its ban in retail market.

The advocate said that in the past, the apex court had
banned sale of egg in the religious places and use of plastic
bags.

The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2006 by a
Delhi-based minor girl Laxmi whose arms, face and other body
parts were disfigured in an acid attack.

The advocate said the girl has now become an adult and
is still undergoing treatment which has so far entailed a cost
of Rs seven lakh.

The Centre had during the last hearing on July 6
indicated it was considering regulating free sale of the
corrosive substance after the apex court favoured a similar
action.
The Centre, which till March this year had failed to
come up with a clear stand of making acid attack a "serious
offence" and curbing the sale of acid, later said the new
government was working on the issue.

"There will be some positive development," Parasaran
had assured the court.

He had said Home Minister P Chidambaram has taken up
the issue on a priority basis and "something can be done on
it".

The Centre, which was also asked to consider a law
similar to the one in Bangladesh to regulate and restrict the
sale of acid to check its use as a weapon, had said such a
step would not be practical and it would lead to "inspector
Raj".

Bureau Report




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