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

First Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 18:08

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