SC sets March 31 deadline for framing acid sale norms

Acid attack victimAn acid attack victim. Picture for representation (Reuters image)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set a deadline of March 31, 2014 for all states and Union Territories to frame rules to regulate sale of acid and notify them accordingly.

A Bench led by Justice R M Lodha lamented that despite the court's order in July, none of the states or Union Territories had notified the rules on the lines of the model rules proposed by the central government for regulating sale of acid and other corrosive substances.

"Rules to regulate sale of acid and other corrosive substances is one of the necessary steps for minimising acid attacks which operate in vice. It was after a series of hearings and orders passed by this court that finally the central government came out with the model rules in consultation with states and Union Territories," noted the Bench while directing for such regulations "at the earliest".

The court, which had in its July order directed that acid attack victims shall be paid a compensation of at least Rs 3 lakh by the state as an after-care and rehabilitation cost, also called for a uniform scheme for such victims across the country and favoured that state governments bear the total cost of medical and psychological treatment.

It took note of a scheme in Haryana where the state government takes care of the entire medical treatment, including plastic or corrective surgeries at a specialised hospital, as well as psychological care, and sought views of states and Union Territories whether they were also willing to follow Haryana's footsteps.

"We direct chief secretaries and administrators to specifically intimate this court of their views in bearing 100 per cent cost of treatment of acid attack victims in line of the decision taken by Haryana, and also with respect to framing of scheme for medical treatment at specialised hospitals where facilities of plastic and corrective surgeries and psychological and other treatment of victims are made available," said the court.

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