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SC asks Centre, states to address acid attack menace

February 06, 2013 16:06 IST

Viewing with concern incidents of acid attacks, the Supreme Court Wednesday directed the Centre to convene in six weeks a meeting of chief secretaries of all states and UnionTerritories to address the menace and discuss framing of a law for treatment and compensation to victims.

Not satisfied with the steps taken by the Centre to regulate sale of acid and to curb its use for attacking women, a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha directed the Union home secretary to meet all the Chief Secretaries to formulate a policy to address the menace of the acid attacks.

The bench passed the order on a PIL filed in 2006 by Delhi-based victim Laxmi who was then a minor. Her arms, face and other body parts were disfigured in an acid attack.

In her plea, she had sought framing of a new law or amending of the existing criminal laws like IPC, Indian Evidence Act and CrPC for dealing with the offence, besides asking for compensation.

Laxmi was subjected to the acid attack by three youths near Tughlaq Road in New Delhi as she had refused to marry one of them, according to the petition. The trial is going on for the offence of attempt to murder and two of the accused are out on bail.In her petition, Laxmi had pleaded for a total ban on sale of acid as there were increasing number of incidents of such attacks on women in different states.

The petitioner had also submitted that even a small country like Bangladesh had taken measures to prevent such attacks.

On July 2, last year, the apex court had asked the Centre to apprise it of the measures to regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse as a weapon, particularly against women.

The court had asked the Union home ministry on April 29, last year to coordinate with the various states and UnionTerritories for formulation of an appropriate scheme.

The apex court had also sought responses of the Centre and the state governments on whether any suitable scheme can be prepared by them to provide adequate compensation to the victims for their treatment and rehabilitation.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that the report of the Law Commission on the issue was supplied to all parties concerned and the National Commission for Women had placed a draft legislation to make acid attack a serious offence. 

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