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  • 23 December, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Acid Attacks in India

Acid Attacks in India

  • The horrible crime of acid attacks and the accessibility of corrosive substances have once again come into the spotlight following a recent attack on a 17-year-old girl in Delhi using an acid-like substance.

The scenario of acid attacks in India:

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that 150 of these cases were documented in 2019, 105 in 2020, and 102 in 2021.
  • The biggest number of these instances are consistently reported in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, which account for close to 50% of all cases in the nation on an annual basis.
  • In 2019, 83% of acid assault cases resulted in charges, and 54% of those cases resulted in convictions.
  • The numbers were 86% and 72%, respectively, in 2020. The numbers were reported to be 89% and 20%, respectively, in 2021.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) advised all states to speed up prosecution in acid attack cases in order to achieve prompt justice.

Initiatives to deal with acid attack in India:

Law on Acid Attack:

  • Prior to 2013, acid attacks were not considered a distinct offence.
  • Following minor changes, acid assaults were moved to a distinct section (326A) of the IPC in 2013.


  • A fine and a minimum term of ten years in jail, with a potential life sentence.
  • Punishment for failing to provide victims with care or for police personnel who refuse to file a report or record any evidence.
  • Dereliction of duty by a police officer is punishable by jail for up to two years, while denial of treatment (by both public and private institutions) is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Compensation and care for victims:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) urged States to ensure that acid attack victims receive compensation of at least Rs. 3 lakhs from the respective State Government/Union Territory as the expense of aftercare and rehabilitation in accordance with Supreme Court orders.
  • The care of acid attack victims in any hospital—public or private—is expected to be offered without charge by the state.
  • The victim will only receive Rs. 1 lakh in compensation; the expense of medical care will not be covered.

Regulation on the sale of acid:

  • In 2013, the Supreme Court issued an order regulating the trade of caustic substances after taking notice of acid attacks.

Model rules for possession and sale of poisons 2013:

  • The MHA created the Rules under The Poisons Act, 1919 based on the ruling and made a recommendation to the states on how to control acid sales.
  • Given that states had jurisdiction over the issue, it requested that they develop their own regulations based on model regulations.
  • Acid sales over the counter are prohibited unless the seller has a logbook or register documenting the sales.
  • The information of the person to whom acid is supplied, the amount sold, the person's address, and the justification for obtaining acid were all to be recorded in this notebook.
  • Additionally, the buyer must present a government-issued photo ID with his address on it before the sale can proceed.
  • Additionally, the purchaser must provide documentation proving that they are older than 18 years old.
  • Sellers must notify the competent Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of all acid stock declarations within 15 days and in the event of unreported acid stock.
  • For a violation of any of the instructions, the SDM has the authority to seize the stock and, if necessary, impose a fine of up to Rs 50,000.
  • According to the regulations, all educational institutions, research facilities, hospitals, government agencies, and departments of PSUs that must hold and store acid are required to keep an acid usage log and submit it to the relevant SDM.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) advice:

  • MHA issued a warning to all states in 2015 to quicken the criminal justice process in cases of acid assaults.
  • MHA again advised all States and UTs to assess and make sure that the retail sale of acids and chemicals is properly regulated in accordance with the Poison Rules in order to prevent these from being used in crime in August 2021.

Way Forward

  • Taking the Pledge to Leave No One Behind The fulfilment of women's and girls' human rights as well as equality, progress, and peace continue to be hampered by violence against women.
  • Overall, ending violence against women and girls is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to "leave no one behind."
  • Holistic Strategy: A court of law cannot settle crimes against women on its own. What is need is a comprehensive strategy that transforms the entire ecology.
  • Participation: All parties involved—lawmakers, police, forensic investigators, prosecutors, judges, medical & health officials, NGOs, and rehabilitation facilities—must band together.

Source: The Hindu

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