PIL filed to ban the sale of Acid, Acid is still being sold openly even after the Supreme Court Judgement

Yashoda Vs State of Madhya Pradesh, W.P. No. 987/2020 | High Court of Indore | Status: Pending | |

Acid attack is one of the most horrendous crimes witnessed in progressive societies. The crime is so grave that it pushes the victim to a series of repercussions. The victim is unable to come out in society because of disfigured face. All the probabilities of acceptance in society are gone. Medical expenses for mandatory surgeries and then reconstructive surgeries are very high which leaves the family in huge debts. The victim also has to pursue litigation for criminal trials and at times, for compensation. The scar of attack remains intact with victims for life.

According to Hon'ble Supreme Court judgment Laxmi vs. Union of India    (WP No. 129 of 2006),

The sale of acids over-the-counter is completely prohibited except in the manner as mentioned here under by these guidelines:

1. The seller shall maintain a log/register as per format recording the sale of acid which will contain the details of the person to whom acid is sold and the quantity sold.

2. No acid shall be sold to any person who is below 18 years of age.

3. All sellers shall sell acid only after the buyer has shown:

a) Call photo ID issued by the government which also has the address of the person.

b) Specifies the reason/purpose for procuring acid.

4. All Stocks of acid must be declared by the seller with the concerned

(i) Area Sub-Divisional magistrate (SDM) within 15 days.
(ii) The format enclosed. Whereas, it is also ordered that in case any undeclared stock of acid is detected but concerned SDM will confiscate the stock and suitably impose fine on such seller up to Rs. 50,000. 
(iii) Stock and suitably impose fine on such seller up to Rs. 50,000
(iv) Whereas the concern SDM is also empowered to impose fine up to Rs. 50,000/- on any person who commits breach of any of the above Directions.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has tried to sum up the plight of acid attack. In Madhya Pradesh alone, 53 cases took place, out of which only 20 victims reported the crime and only 7 accused were arrested, none of whom were convicted.That, there are 250 to 300 acid attacks reported in India every year, despite laws restricting the sale of acid or other deadly chemicals. That, in 2016, India recorded 300 attacks but many go unreported, so the actual number could exceed 1000, according to Acid Survivors. Since 2013, acid attacks are an offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Prior to that, no law dealt specifically with acid attacks.That, every year, the number of acid attacks increase by a significant number. This happens in spite of all the rules and guidelines laid down by the law. Most victims of acid attacks are women. It is an unfortunate fact that every year, so many women's lives get ruined. Each year, such women become victims of grievous injuries and have their physical and mental states scarred for life.

That, the Guidelines issued by orders in Laxmi’s case are proper. We just need to ensure that these guidelines are implemented properly. Keeping in view the impact of acid attack on the victim, on his/her social, economical and personal life, we need to enhance and maintain the proper following of guidelines by each and every shopkeeper in the state. We cannot be oblivious to the fact that the victim of acid attack goes through permanent damage of their physical as well as emotional and mental state. Prevention of such a crime is the responsibility of the State and the liability of such cases also rests upon the State.

That, also according to various reports, many victims don’t even file a complaint for the said crime and those who filed, their cases are still pending. A report shows that only in M.P. High court Indore bench many cases are pending such as –

1       WP No. 472/17 Yoshoda Bai v. State of M.P.
2       WP no. 19968/17 Nandlal v. State of M.P.
3       WP no. 22615/18 Rupalee v. State of M.P.
4       WP no. 1188/18 Maya Pawar v. State of M.P. ( Jabalpur HC)
5       WP no. 13670/15 Renu Shahu v. State of M.P.
6       WP no. 1066/19  Roop Singh v. State of M.P.

The survivors are not only victims of acid attack. They suffer many other problems in throughout their lives thereafter. They become unemployed, as no employers provide them with employment. This unemployment prevails all their life, and they are left looking for various means of earning a livelihood. Not only this, but also they are looked at with eyes of hatred, as though it was their fault that they became victim to such attacks. They also don't get a full treatment of their injuries. Most victims come from poor backgrounds and are hence not able to afford treatment on their own. The treatment is needed throughout the life of the survivor.