LAW RESOURCE INDIA

ACID ATTACKS AND THE LAW

From The 226 Law Commission Reports

Since no special section in the Indian Penal Code deals with acid attacks, the incidents are not even recorded separately. Section 326 of the I.P.C, which deals with causing grievous hurt by throwing of a corrosive substance etc. is insufficient/ inadequate to deal with the issue. Firstly, the definition of grievous hurt is not broad enough to cover the various kinds of injuries which are inflicted during acid attacks. Secondly, the section does not cover the act of administering acid. Thirdly, the section gives a wide discretion to the courts as far as punishment is concerned. The cases on acid attacks in India show that normally inadequate punishment is awarded in these cases. Fourthly, the section in the I.P.C does not punish the intentional act of throwing of acid if no injuries occur. Lastly, the section also does not specify who the fine should be awarded to. We also feel that if a person has thrown or administered the acid on another person a presumption should be raised against the person, who has thrown or administered the acid, that he has done so deliberately.

ACID ATTACKS - A GHASTLY CRIME

ACID ATTACKS - A GHASTLY CRIME

Apart from the above we feel that the distribution and sale of Acid should be banned except for commercial and scientific purposes. Acid should be made a scheduled banned chemical which should not be available over the counter. The particulars of purchasers of acid should be recorded. We have also examined the various laws in different countries relating to compensation for criminal injuries. While the U.K Act provides for the setting up of a scheme, the Canadian statute sets up a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to dispense compensation to victims of violence. The suggestion of the National Commission for Women for setting up a board specifically for acid victims has also been examined by us. We however feel that since not only victims of acid attacks but other victims of different crimes also need compensation for rehabilitation, like victims of rape, a law should be enacted to set in place Criminal Injuries Compensation Boards at the Centre, State and District levels in our country.

1. We therefore propose that a new section 326A be added to the Indian Penal Code. The proposed Section 326 A will read as  follows-

326 A. (i) Hurt by acid attack- Whoever burns or maims or disfigures or disables any part or parts of the body of a person or  causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or administering acid to that person, with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to life and with fine which may extend to Rs. 10 Lakhs. Provided that any fine levied under this section shall be given to the person on whom acid has been thrown or administered.

CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE

Minimum Imprisonment of 10 years extendable upto imprisonment for life and fine–cognizable– non-bailable—triable by court of session—noncompoundable. (ii) Intentionally throwing or administering acid- Whoever throws acid on, or administers acid to, any person with the intention of causing burns or maiming or disfiguring or disabling or causing grievous hurt to that person shall be liable to imprisonment of either description for a term not less than 5 years but which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to Rs. 5 Lakh.

CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE

1. Minimum Imprisonment of 5 years extendable upto 10 years and fine– cognizable– non-bailable—triable by court of session—noncompoundable.

2. We further propose, for the reasons stated above, that in cases of acid attack a presumption be incorporated in the Indian Evidence Act as Section 114B. The proposed Section 114B of the Indian Evidence Act shall read as under.

Section 114 B: Presumption as to acid attack-If a person has thrown  acid on, or administered acid to, another person the court shall presume that such an act has been done with the intention of causing, or with the knowledge that such an act is likely to cause such hurt or injury as is mentioned in Section 326 A of the Indian Penal Code.

3. We propose that a law known as “Criminal Injuries Compensation Act” be enacted as a separate Law by the government . This law should provide both interim and final monetary compensation to victims of certain acts of violence like Rape, Sexual Assault, Acid Attacks etc. and should provide for their medical and other expenses relating to rehabilitation, loss of earnings etc. Any compensation already received by the victim can be taken into account while computing compensation under this Act.

4. We further recommend that the distribution and sale of acid be strictly regulated and the sale of Acid across shop counters be banned.

(Justice AR. Lakshmanan)  Chairman, Law Commission of India

COMMENTS FROM NATIONAL NETWORK OF LAWYERS FOR RIGHTS AND JUSTICE :

” ACID ATTACKS SHOULD BE MADE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH SENTENCE. THE LAW COMMISSION OF INDI AS WELL AS THE HOME MINISTRY ARE PROPOSING ONLY 10 YEARS OF RIGOUROUS IMPRISONMENT WHICH IS VERY LESS COMPARED TO THE ENORMITY OF THE CRIME AND ITS IMPACT ON THE VICTIMS.”

READ THE REPORT HERE:

LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA 226 REPORT ON ACID ATTACKS

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10 Responses

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  1. T Alam said, on February 28, 2010 at 01:06

    This is a very well written article and explains exactly why an organisation like ASTI http://acid.violence.org campaigns to change the law in countries where such attacks take place. Our ethos is to see the victims as survivors – resilient and dignified. We help rebuild their lives whilst maintaining pressure to get justice and raise public awareness. Society needs to change and rally together to stand against the perpetrators and leave them no room to hide

  2. vinit barua said, on February 28, 2010 at 01:53

    i strongly support the campaign about the formation of law for the acid attack cases in india

    we are the largest democracy even then we dont have a full constitution. what are we doing if we dont have any system how can we survive for a long time . by this we will always waste our energy and resources in term of youth

    so now we people should come together for a cause

    ITS NOT LATE TO START NOW!!!!

    COME AND JOIN NEW RELIGION OF UNITY!!!!

    only we can start THEN WY NOT NOW!!

    regards
    vinit barua
    vinitdreamindia@gmail.com

  3. Prof G S Bajpai said, on March 1, 2010 at 16:47

    Instead of proposed sec 326, the act of acid attack be made part of sub section of 307 as the intention in this act is more than harming which must be in the ambit of attempted murder.

  4. Asha Chaudhry said, on March 11, 2010 at 20:34

    Dear Prof. Bajpai,

    Thanks for your response and advice.

    Please can I have your email for further discussions.

    Thanks & Regards

    Asha
    chaudhryasha@yahoo.co.in

  5. T Alam said, on March 13, 2010 at 05:42

    Professor Bajpai – I agree with your suggestion – the way it is done in Bangladesh for example is that the maximum punishment is death – dependent on the level of damage. There are also questions of community protection as often perpetrators are protected for the sake of saving face. VIctims are often coerced into silence. Systematic campaigning and raising awareness is a way forward as well in order the galvanise people against this. Acid Survivors Foundation India is being set up to help this

  6. Asha Chaudhry said, on April 5, 2010 at 16:14

    Acid Survivors Foundation India is already working very hard and exists since Feb 2009.

  7. Arvind Singh said, on June 3, 2010 at 11:51

    I appreciate the Article, but we all need to come forward and to take some stern action against these criminals. such cases are increasing nowadays, needs a separate law for them, often is viewed with such cases are mostly with girls, so it becomes even more important to let the proceedings against them. One article I read something similar here

    http://www.lawisgreek.com/acid-attack-in-india/

  8. Laksmi Relli said, on December 21, 2010 at 20:21

    FEMINISM is the only reason of ACID ATTACK !!
    Perhaps If the feminist stopped DV and false harrasment and rape cases,. probably this would stop too !
    TO BE RESPECTED, ONE NEEDS TO SHOW RESPECT !!

  9. Anil Kumar said, on March 16, 2011 at 00:26

    sir, I am also the victim of such attack and fighiting for justice since 1988, my case is still going on ,I welcome this new section for disfigration of face but to my mind there should be right to choose one punishment either one should be hanged till death or he may be punished by giving oppertunity to the victim of such attack to put the same article or substance on the same places of body


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