New Delhi | To ameliorate the suffering of acid attack victims, the Centre today directed all states to ensure speedy disbursal of compensation amount as well as timely treatment for them. A high-level meeting, chaired by Union Home Secretary L C Goyal and attended by representatives of state governments, decided that acid attack cases must be handled with full sensitivity and streamline the current process for speedy and timely disbursal of compensation money including first-aid as well as medical treatment to victims.
The Home Secretary emphasised upon the need for speedy disbursal of compensation amount as well as timely treatment of acid attack victims in accordance with the provisions of Section 357C of the CrPC, a Home Ministry statement said. The Supreme Court had said that an acid attack victim should be given Rs three lakh as compensation by the state government concerned.
According to Section 357 C, all hospitals, public or private, whether run by central government, state government, local bodies or any other person, shall immediately, provide the first-aid or medical treatment, free of cost, to the victims. Union Health Secretary B P Sharma, who also attended the meeting, advised the states to make use of the Clinical Establishments Act to provide first-aid or medical treatment with special focus on acid attack victims.
Sharma also emphasised the need for capacity building of state government doctors in plastic surgery at specialised institutions identified by the Union Health Ministry. The officials reviewed the current status of the efforts made by the states and union territories related to notification of victim compensation scheme and treatment of such victims, in pursuance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court.
The meeting also took note that almost all the states and UTs have notified the victim compensation scheme for payment of compensation to victims covered under a specific section of the CrPC. Sources said the government is planning to fix the tenure of trial of acid attack cases and ensure maximum punishment to the guilty.
As per Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, a person convicted for acid attack is sentenced to imprisonment for ten years or life. The Home Ministry had earlier said that all such cases where maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence is possible will be categorised as heinous crimes. Government had said 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, he said, adding the victims of acid attacks need to be treated by hospitals in a hassle-free manner. 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.
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