New Delhi | Faced with the growing number of acid attacks on women, government is planning to categorise such cases as heinous crimes and fix a time-frame for investigation and trial for speedy justice. All such cases where maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence is possible will be categorised as heinous crimes, a Home Ministry statement said today.
As per Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, a person convicted for acid attack is sentenced to imprisonment for ten years or life. The trial of the offences (under Section 376A-D of IPC is to be completed within 60 days. The Home Ministry is now planning to extend this provision further by suitable amendments in CrPC for time bound investigation and trial of all cases related to heinous crimes.
Government also proposes to bring suitable amendments in law to fix time-frame for disposal of appeals by courts especially in cases of heinous crimes including acid attack to ensure speedy justice. The decisions to strengthen legal and administrative framework to check acid attacks were taken by Home Minister Rajnath Singh showing utmost concern to the victims of acid attacks, the statement said.
The government has also taken a number of steps to regulate sale of acid, increase punishment for perpetrators of acid attack and compensation for the victims etc. In order to regulate the sale of acid, a web application having functionalities like registration of stockists and retailers, issue of licenses by the district administration, targeting sale of acid to individuals only after recording personal details like proof of identity and proof of address of the purchaser will be developed. This measure will considerably reduce unauthorised sale of acid in the country, it said.
The victims of acid attacks need to be treated by hospitals in a hassle-free manner. The Home Ministry will develop a new mechanism in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Finance and Insurance companies so that victims of acid attacks are treated on a cashless basis and the treatment amount is paid from the central victim compensation fund which is proposed to be set up by the Home Ministry.
Steps will be taken to include acid attack victims in the category of physically challenged persons/persons with disability so that they are able to access the benefits of reservation, training, self-employment loan etc. as admissible to the physically challenged persons. This will help in rehabilitation of acid attack victims. So far, several states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, MP, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — have framed rules to regulate sale of acid and corrosive substances. However, acid is easily available in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar etc.
There have been reports of increasing number of acid attack cases. Though no official statistics are available about the number of such cases, an estimated 400 cases of acid attacks are registered every month across the country. According to a report of the Law Commission, acid throwing is an extremely violent crime by which the perpetrator of the crime seeks to inflict severe physical and mental suffering on his victim. This kind of violence is often motivated by deep-seated jealousy or feelings of revenge against a woman.