Stringent punishment for throwing acid

People found guilty of throwing acid could face life in jail and may have to cough up Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victims.

New Delhi: People found guilty of throwing acid on women causing serious injury could face life in jail and may have to cough up Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victims if a recommendation of a group of Union Secretaries gets Cabinet nod.

A six member Committee of Secretaries which examined the issue has recommended changes in the existing laws to classify acid attacks as a separate offence in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The draft Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill prepared by a Committee of Secretaries headed by Home Secretary G K Pillai has recommended a jail term ranging from a minimum of 10 years up to a maximum of life imprisonment for those found guilty of acid attacks.

Others in the Committee include the Law Secretary, the Secretary Legislative Department (the senior-most government official responsible for drafting bills), Secretary Ministry of Women and Child Development and consultant (judicial) in the Home Ministry.
The draft bill has also proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act based on demands made by the National Commission for Women and same NGOs who had been demanding changes in the existing laws, sources said.

The committee has also proposed imposition of a Rs 10 lakh fine on the guilty, which would have to paid to the victim as compensation.

It has been recommended that two new clauses be added to section 326 of the IPC which deals with grievous hurt caused by "dangerous weapons or means" to separately identify acid attacks.
The committee has proposed addition of clauses A and B to section 326. The proposed clause A would prescribe the punishment for the intentional act of throwing acid to cause burns, disfiguring of the body and disabling any part of the body.