Madhya Pradesh: Court grants compensation to Dalit man attacked with acid
Nandlal Malviya v. State of MP & Others WRIT PETITION NO (PIL) 19968/2017 This case is pertaining to a Dalit man namely Nandlal who became a victim of the gruesome crime of acid attack. The petitioner (Nandlal) represented by HRLN sought from the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench relief in the form of damages and free medical treatment in a private hospital. On the ill-fated date of 5/11/2017 at around 7 am; the petitioner was on his way to buy a pouch from a shop situated in Gandhi Nagar Indore, Madhya Pradesh. A woman named Heeramani who lived near the shop lured Nandlal into entering her house by asking him for help. Once inside, the woman threw acid on Nandlal. The petitioner started screaming in pain and on hearing the calls for help; a passerby namely Rahul came to the petitioner’s rescue and took him home. Even after the incident, the woman followed the petitioner home and started beating him up with a stick. The petitioner’s family informed the Police and lodged an FIR under Section 307, 326 A 34 of IPC against the accused on the same day. The petitioner was immediately admitted to M.Y. Hospital and was diagnosed with 44% burns all over his body including face, hair, arms, chest, legs, neck, back and eyes to such an extent that he was unable to see clearly. He wasn’t given proper medical care or treatment at M.Y. Hospital due to which his condition deteriorated gradually. Consequently, he was admitted to Bombay Hospital/ CHL Apollo, a private hospital with adequate infrastructure to treat acid attack victims so as to carry out the remainder of his treatment immediately and in an effective manner in accordance with the order passed by the Supreme Court on 6/2/2015 in Laxmi vs Union of India. The petitioner filed the writ petition on 17/11/2017 before the Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh for which the first hearing was scheduled on 21/11/2017. The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued an order to the respondent to seek instructions regarding the payment of compensation to the petitioner. Further, the second hearing was scheduled on 23/11/2107. Counsel for the petitioner insisted upon interim relief of financial aid and assistance for the treatment of the petitioner as he had lost vision in his left eye due to alleged acid attack and therefore, required immediate medical attention. The High Court of Madhya Pradesh issued a notice to the respondent party regarding the payment of process fees by 24/11/2017 (returnable within two days). Even though the Madhya Pradesh High Court had not passed an order directing the petitioner to be admitted in a private hospital; the Bombay Hospital accepted the application given by the counsel for the petitioner urging the hospital to admit the acid attack victim urgently for administration of requisite medical treatment on 27/11/2017 as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Laxmi vs. Union of India. Ultimately, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Indore Bench awarded the petitioner i.e. Nandlal with damages amounting to Rs. 1,00,000 in addition to Rs. 1,50,000 that he had already received vide the order dated 15/5/18. The case assumes paramount importance in relation to prevention of future acid attacks as the application submitted by the Counsel for the petitioner has ensured speedy remedies by avoiding excess litigation. In the instant case, necessary operations have and are being conducted for the injured left eye, forehead and other affected body parts. Plastic surgery is also being performed. By eliminating the need of court orders for treatment, the acid attack victims can be given immediate medical care, treatment and attention by competent hospitals so as to ensure the victims are guaranteed a road to recovery.