Report No. 226
Conclusion and Recommendations
The preceding chapters highlight that acid attacks are an increasing phenomenon in India. However, since no special section in the Indian Penal Code deals with acid attacks, the incidents are not even recorded separately. Section 326 of the I.P.C, which deals with causing grievous hurt by throwing of a corrosive substance etc. is insufficient/ inadequate to deal with the issue. Firstly, the definition of grievous hurt is not broad enough to cover the various kinds of injuries which are inflicted during acid attacks. Secondly, the section does not cover the act of administering acid.
Thirdly, the section gives a wide discretion to the courts as far as punishment is concerned. The cases on acid attacks in India show that normally inadequate punishment is awarded in these cases. Fourthly, the section in the I.P.C does not punish the intentional act of throwing of acid if no injuries occur. Lastly, the section also does not specify who the fine should be awarded to. We also feel that if a person has thrown or administered the acid on another person a presumption should be raised against the person, who has thrown or administered the acid, that he has done so deliberately.
Apart from the above we feel that the distribution and sale of Acid should be banned except for commercial and scientific purposes. Acid should be made a scheduled banned chemical which should not be available over the counter. The particulars of purchasers of acid should be recorded. We have also examined the various laws in different countries relating to compensation for criminal injuries. 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.
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.
1. We therefore propose that a new section 326A be added to the Indian Penal Code. The proposed Section 326 A will read as follows-