Those working with acids in labs to be frisked

State puts strict curbs on sale, possession of acid

Those working with acids in laboratories, including students, may soon be subjected to checking before leaving the premises.

The move, among others, comes in the wake of the State government issuing new draft rules classifying “acid and corrosive substances” as poison and stipulating stringent restrictions on its sale and possession.

The new rules have been framed to abide a direction from the Supreme Court to all states to regulate the sale of acid following a Public Interest Litigation by an acid attack victim. Following the increasing number of acid attacks on women, the apex court in July 2013 had directed the Centre to come up with guidelines outlining the measures to be taken to prevent such crimes.

The draft Karnataka Poisons (Possession and Sale) Rules 2015, notified by the Revenue Department, makes it mandatory for seller of the corrosive liquids to demand from a buyer his identity proof, residential address, telephone number and the purpose for which he was making the purchase. Jurisdictional sub-divisional magistrates (tahasildars) have been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the rules.

New rules
Sources in the department told Deccan Herald that the new rules will replace the Karnataka Poison Rules, 1966 and will be placed before the State Cabinet for approval soon. The file has already been despatched from the office of the revenue minister to the chief secretary, the sources added.  Following the Cabinet approval, the State government will file an affidavit before the Supreme Court contending compliance of its orders.

As per the rules, the regulation will apply for corrosive acids including acetic acid, formic acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid besides more than 40 types of chemicals considered poison. The rules stipulate that educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals,  public sector units, who are required to keep and store acid, will have to maintain a register of usage of the corrosive liquid and filed before the sub-division magistrate. A person will have to be made accountable for possession and safe keeping of acid in their premises.

The acid will have to be stored under the supervision of this person and there will be compulsory checking of the students, personnel leaving the laboratories or place of storage where acid is used. All stocks of acid will have to be declared by the seller with the jurisdictional sub-division magistrate within 15 days.

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