SC curbs on over-the-counter sale of acid

New Delhi, July 18: The Supreme Court Thursday banned over-the-counter sale of acid at retail outlets without maintenance of record of stock and buyers' identity and told the government to pay a compensation of Rs.3 lakh to each acid attack victim.

Banning sale of acid to minors, an apex court bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha said an acid attack victim would be paid Rs.1 lakh within 15 days of the incident and the remaining Rs.2 lakh would be given within two months for treatment.


"Over-the-counter sale of acid is completely prohibited unless the seller maintains a log/register recording ... the details of the person(s) to whom acid (s) is/are sold, the quantity sold and shall contain the address of the person to whom it is sold," the court said in an interim order.

The court said that the violation of its directions "shall attract prosecution under the Poisons Act, 1919" and "the SDM shall be vested with the responsibility of fining the violators and initiating prosecution".

The court direction came on a public interest litigation filed by acid attack victim Laxmi seeking the regulation of the sale of acid.

The petitioner also sought provision for treatment and rehabilitation and compensation for acid attack victims.

Directing that no acid would be sold to any person below the age of 18 years, the court said that the seller would declare all the stock available with him to the sub- divisional magistrate (SDM) within 15 days from the date of the notification of the rules by the state governments.

Retail outlets having licence to sell acid will maintain a stock register and failing to do so or possessing unaccounted acid will lead to a fine of Rs.50,000, the court said.

The judges said all the states which already have rules to regulate the sale of acid will reinforce them and those who don't have such rules would frame them in accordance with the model rules framed by the central government.

The court said that states would frame the rules regulating the sale of acid within three months after the receipt of model rules from the central government.

Educational institutions, research laboratories and hospitals "shall maintain a register of usage of acid and file the same with the local police and the SDM", the judges said.

These institutions will delegate a person accountable for the possession and safe upkeep of acid and "there shall be compulsory checking of students leaving the laboratories where acid is used", the court said.

The judges said their order "shall be translated into vernacular languages and publicised in local newspapers and television channels".


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