New law to provide relief to acid attack victims

THE state government has decided to introduce a legislation to provide compensation to acid attack victims following a Supreme Court directive to give aid to such victims for treatment and rehabilitation. The legislation will also regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse, particularly against women.

On February 6, the Supreme Court had expressed displeasure over the steps taken over the last seven years by the government to evolve a comprehensive, concrete and effective law to deal with growing acid attacks and ordered a meeting of states and Union territories on the issue.

On March 11, 2013, state home secretary Basudeb Banerjee convened a meeting with senior officials, where it was decided that Rs 50,000 compensation would be given to acid attack victims who had lost a limb or received 80 per cent injury. Those who receive 40 per cent injury would receive Rs 20,000 and those with below 40 per cent injury would get Rs 10,000.

The compensation scheme proposal will be sent to the Chief Minister for her consent.

Senior officials said that in 2012, around 15 victims of acid attack had complained to the police in West Bengal while in 2011, the number was 12.

The Tamil Nadu government has already introduced a legislation regulating sale of acid. It has amended Schedule 1 of the victim compensation scheme incorporating extent of compensation depending on the nature of injury such as disfigurement, loss of limb due to acid attack, etc.

In 2006, a case was filed by Laxmi, a Delhi-based woman who had been disfigured in an acid attack. She pleaded for a ban on the sale of acid, after which the Supreme Court directed the Centre to coordinate with the states and UTs to formulate an appropriate scheme. The apex court had also sought responses on whether any scheme could be prepared to provide adequate compensation to the victims.

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