SC frowns at failure to regulate sale of acid in market

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday frowned at the central and the state governments for not doing anything to regulate the sale of acid in open market even though a number of cases involving acid attacks were taking place every day.

It warned that it would impose a ban on sale of acid in the open market if the government did not indicate any action by next week.

Referring to the case of Delhi girl Preeti Rathi who became a victim upon her arrival in Mumbai, a bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya said: "Think of the plight of the girl."

"Can anyone close his eyes to these incidents happening in cities like Mumbai," the court said that seriousness required from the government on the issue was not be seen.

The court said that in its April 16 order, it had expressed concern as the incidents of acid attacks were occurring across the country and one reason for this was easy availability of acid for sale in the country.

"Neither central government nor state governments or union territories have been able to address this grave issue," it said.

The court took the dim view of the inaction on the part of the central and state governments in the course of the hearing of a petition seeking treatment, after care and rehabilitation and compensation to the acid attack victims by the government and deterrent provision for the punishment of the accused.

Once again referring to its previous order, wherein the court had asked the central government to frame an adequate scheme to ban the sale of acid across the country and place it for its consideration, the court said: "More than two months and three weeks have passed since then but no compliance report has been filed by the centre for the draft scheme nor has it been placed before it."

Pointing to the submission by Aparna Bhat, counsel for petitioner Laxm, the court said: "In various orders we have indicated the seriousness of the issue but we find no effective steps have been taken by the centre, state governments or the union territories to ensure that issue is addressed..."

The court regretted that the solution for the grievous problem was not forthcoming.

Giving another opportunity to the central government file an affidavit on the steps it intended to take to ban the sale of acid in open market, the court said: "If an affidavit is not filed by the next week, the court will pass an appropriate order to ban retail sale of acid across the country."

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