ACID ATTACKS AND THE INDIAN LAW
The Indian Penal Code remains silent as far as defining “Acid Attacks” is considered,
therefore it is difficult for the prosecution to put up a strong case against the culprit Currently,
the crime is booked under section 326 of The I.P.C, which deals with causing grievous hurt
by throwing of a corrosive substance etc. The scope of the definition is very narrow and does
not deal adequately deal with the issue because:
Ø It does not cover the various kinds of injuries inflicted because of an acid attack
Ø The section does not cover the act of administering acid attack, i.e, planning it.
Ø the section gives a wide discretion to the courts as far as punishment is concerned
Ø Np clear provisions for awarding compensation to the victim.
ACID ATTACKS - A GHASTLY CRIME
On examination of the various laws prevalent in different countries, we found that, 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.Something
worth noticing is that, even under developed countries like Bangladesh have strict
punishments like death sentence against the brutal crime.
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.
Future of Indian Law against Acid Attacks
In 2008, The Law Commission of India came out with a report on “The inclusion of acid
attacks as specific offenses in the Indian Penal Code and a law for compensation for victims
of crime” Here is an abstract about how an additional sub- section should be added to existing
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 lakh. 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-
bail able—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.
The same ordinance has been passed and the bill awaits approval of the parliament.