Acid attacks trials to be fast-tracked

Acid attacks trials to be fast-tracked

Amid concerns about growing number of acid attacks on women, the Union Home Ministry is planning to categorise such cases as heinous crimes and fix a time frame for investigation and trial to ensure speedy justice.

Suitable amendments will also be made in law to fix time frame for disposal of appeals by courts, especially in cases of heinous crimes, including acid attack.

“All such cases where maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence is possible will be categorised as ‘heinous crimes'. As per Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, trial of offences under Section 376A-D of IPC, are to be completed within 60 days. Extending this provision further, suitable amendments in CrPC will be made for time bound investigation and trial of all cases related to heinous crimes,” an official statement said.

Steps will also be taken to include acid attack victims in the category of Physically Challenged Persons so that they are able to access the benefits of reservation, training and self-employment loan.

This will help in rehabilitation of acid attack victims, it said. The government’s announcement came a day after two unidentified men threw acid on a 30-year-old woman doctor at a crowded marketplace in West Delhi’s Rajouri Garden.
The Home Ministry statement said the government has taken a number of steps in the past to regulate sale of acid, increase punishment for perpetrators of acid attack and compensation for the victims.

“However, more needs to be done as victims of acid attack suffer a lot. The Government has been receiving suggestions from various corners to not only contain the menace of acid attack but also create a mechanism for quick relief and rehabilitation of the acid attack victims,” the statement said.

In order to regulate the sale of acid, the Ministry said, a web application will be developed. This would have 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.

This measure, the Ministry believes, will considerably reduce unauthorised sale of acid in the country. Instructions will also instruct hospitals to treat victims of acid attack in a hassle free manner. A new mechanism will be developed in consultation with Ministries of Health and Finance and insurance companies so that victims are treated on cashless basis. The treatment cost is paid from the Central Victim Compensation Fund, to be set up by the Home Ministry.

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