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Report No. 226

Section 6: Punishment for acid throwing or attempt to throwing: Whosoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any other person even if such an act causes no damage or injury to that other person whether physically, mentally or otherwise, he shall be punished with, imprisonment of either description which may extend to 7 years but not less than 3 years of rigorous imprisonment also with a fine not exceeding Fifty Thousand Taka.

It is relevant to mention that prior to 1983, all acid crimes in Bangladesh were prosecuted using the penal code. In 1983, the word "acid" was included in the penal code to try to provide some clarity, but there were still gaps in the law when considering the very specific nature of acid crimes.1 In 1995 the government enacted the Cruelty to Women and Children Act and this Act addressed acid attacks specifically.

At that point in time, acid violence was thought to be a gender specific issue and all acid crimes against women and children were prosecuted through this Act. However any attack committed against a man had to be prosecuted through the old penal code. From 1995 onwards there was an increased trend in the use of acid against men and so a new law was needed to prosecute cases inflicted on men. When the law was revised and in 2002, the maximum punishment was increased from 7 years under the penal code to death.

1. The Hindu, Acid Attack victims yet to get assistance, 27-4-2007.

  • 1. The law addresses the problem of delay in prosecuting cases by providing a fixed time for investigations:
  • The investigating police officer must complete the investigation within 30 days following the reported attack or the Magistrate's order for an investigation.
  • Two extensions of 15 days each can be granted on application to the court
  • If after 60 days, the officer is unable to complete the investigation, a new officer must be assigned and action will be taken against the first officer
  • The new officer has 15 days to complete the investigation.

2. Trial Procedures:

  • The total time allowed for investigations is 90 days. The trial then has to be completed and a conviction secured within 90 days of the end of the investigation period.

3. The court is very proactive in ensuring that the police investigate acid cases. Section 13 in the Act states that legal action will be taken against any officers who are negligent or corrupt in investigating the crime.

4. Medical Examination of the Victim: This Section is to ensure that the acid attack victim gets proper medical examination immediately and receive a certificate regarding the examination. The Section also lays down that action will be taken against a negligent doctor.

5. All offences under the Act are cognizable, non-compoundable and nonbailable.

6. Although the crime is regarded as non-bailable in Section 13 of the Act, Section 14 of the act is a specific provision that gives the Court some discretion as to when it can grant bail. This Section states that a bail petition cannot be filed if the Court is convinced that the complainant is not given the chance for hearing on the bail petition, or there are reasonable ground for conviction or He/she is not woman or child, or not physically impaired and the tribunal is not satisfied that ends of justice will not be hampered if he is enlarged on bail. If the Court is satisfied that the person is not involved in the offence, it can grant bail.

7. Acid-offences Prevention Tribunals have been set up solely to try acid cases, headed by district or session judges. These topic-specific Tribunals are to ensure that members on the Tribunals are properly sensitized to acid attack cases.

The Acid Control Act, deals with restricting and controlling the sale and supply of acid in Bangladesh This Act attempts to control the sale and supply of acid in Bangladesh. 15-member National Acid Control Councils have been established across the country. Each council is headed by a District Commissioner. Members of the Councils are selected from the government and also lawyers, commerce people, medical professionals, specialists in women's issues and members of the media. The councils make proposals to take action to enforce and monitor the laws regarding acid sale in their respective area as well as to assist in the proper reporting, treatment and rehabilitation of victims.

The councils raise public awareness about the consequences of acid crime. In spite of the enactment of the new law the experience in Bangladesh has been that it is still very hard to restrict the sale of acid. It is first difficult to find the source of the acid used during the attack and thus to prosecute the supplier. It is also easy disguising the reason for requiring acid by proposing legitimate excuses. Furthermore, covering up the real supply of acid in their records is an effortless task for suppliers and as bribery is common in Bangladesh, acid is easy to obtain.

The Inclusion of Acid Attacks as Specific Offences in the Indian Penal Code and a law for Compensation for Victims of Crime Back

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