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ACID ATTACK AND ITS RELATED LAWS

INTRODUCTION


Crime is an act punishable by law, usually considered an unlawful act. Crime refers to many types of offences not allowed by law. Crimes include such things as murder, stealing a car, resisting arrest, throwing acid on another person, drinking and driving and theft. Crime is an act that has been recurrent and has been omitted practically since the beginning.


Acid attack is one of those crimes which horrifies every person male or female, it is a grievous hurt which is intended on behalf of the perpetrator towards the victim which is irrevocable. It is an offence where the criminal throws harmful and dangerous chemicals onto the body parts of another person mainly face. The motive and intent behind such crime is to harm or hurt another person by ruining skin through chemicals causing permanent damage. Victims who suffer from acid attack have a permanent scare and disfiguration of face or any other part for their whole life. The perpetrator used harmful chemicals namely hydrochloric acid, sulphuric and nitric acid. These chemicals can cause blindness, burning in eyes and can also leave permanent scarring on the victims face.


The perpetrator while attacking always aims to hurt and cause harm to victim and not always kill. Some of the most common intentions of the criminal involves personal problems regarding intimate relationships, and sexual rejection, racial discriminatory intent, jealousy and lust related to intimate relationship, Social, political and religious reasons. Gang dominance and rivalry, Attacks against communities, conflicts over land related issues, farm animals, housing and property, revenge for refusal of sex, demand for marriage and advances for dowry. Often there is an acid attack on women when she denies the perpetrator for some sort of intimate approach or proposal of marriage. Offences committed such as acid attack have vigorous consequences when it comes to its punishment.


Indian penal code (IPC) 1860 is code of law which justifies the punishment for the aforesaid offence committed by a criminal. The provision of hurt plays an important role mentioned in section 319 of IPC defined as ‘whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.


Section 319 to section 326 under chapter 16 of IPC deals exclusively with offences of hurt.

The offenses of hurt and battery may sound comparative yet there are some essential contrasts between them. While establishing these arrangements, the creators of IPC intentionally kept these offenses discrete. This is on the grounds that real hurt can occur even by acts which are not ambushes. For instance, an individual may burrow a gap and hide it to make someone fall and get injured, however this isn't a battery.


As indicated by Section 319, an individual causes hurt on the off chance that he causes substantial torment, malady or illness to someone. At the end of the day, the injured individual must endure some physical damage or agony because of the activities of the guilty party.


For acid attack to be an offence IPC has stated three essentials for it to be an omission by the perpetrator. They are pain endured by the victim which is physical in nature, a bodily pain, some sort of illness or frailty. There are numerous manners by which this offense can occur. For instance, an individual may hit someone or even harm him.

But further the offence of hurt if aggravated and is counted under grievous hurt mentioned under section 320 of IPC. The offences which fall under this section are

In Indian penal code the offence of Voluntarily causing grievous hurt which is also defined under section 322 as, “whoever voluntarily causes hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause or knows himself to be likely to cause is grievous hurt, and if the hurt which he causes is grievous hurt, is said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt”

When the offender hurts another individual with the tool of acid it comes under the specified section 326 of IPC which is defined as whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or burns or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or “by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury” or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine. This section was inserted by Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It is based on the recommendations of Justice J. S. Verma Committee.


BACKGROUND

Indian penal code 1860 is a rule of book for all crimes or offences that cease to be lawful and is criminal in nature. It was commenced on 1st January of 1860 and enacted 6th October of 1861 to all states of India. First law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 was the document under which the code was drafted the very first time in 1860 under Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay who was the chairman of the law commission report. During the British Raj early period which was in year 1862 the code was in force and working in then India. But during the year 1940s the princely states of British India was governed its own laws and statutes with also their own regulation and administration to work with. Since time immemorial there has been several amendments to this code as the society and its regulations changes. It also has been accepted by other provisions of criminal laws


Prior to IPC the laws that existed were Mahomedan law which was prior to the east India Company’s administration. During this period both the Hindu’s and Muslim’s were governed under this law. The Hindu’s were not challenged on the basis of governance of their personal laws thus making them not subject to all the laws. Their legal relations which were civil in nature were to be regulated according to their personal laws. For example a Brahmin Pandit was never vested with a criminal jurisdiction. They were supposed to elect on person or a person sanctioned by emperor to rule the cases related to crime in Hindu religion. Thus due to ambiguous laws pertaining in the functioning of British India the demand for a unified code of law was established. This code was first established by Lord Macaulay in first law commission report and then commenced and enacted in the year 1860. Further this code has been amended several times with the changing societies and the intensity of crimes. thus section 326 A and B was also amended in the Indian penal code as there was a grave need for separate laws related to grievous hurt caused voluntarily by the use of acid.

SECTION 326 A

This section was amended for the sole purpose of acid victims in India. The minimum punishment under this law in 10 years of imprisonment and the hurt caused by the perpetrator is grievous in nature and also permanent. Thus the law was regarding the situation of these crimes in India cam with this amendment after the unfortunate event of Nirbhaya rape case. The facts of the case were that Nirbhaya a female was attacked and gang raped by males and left on the road to die. Her situation was critical in nature for many days, but as the situation and pain got worse Nirbhaya passed away. This case led to widespread chaos for new amendments of laws and thus this law also came into being.


Such unfortunate events lead to making of the required laws which are supposed to be enforceable and present in the Indian penal code.

One the landmark judgements on acid attack was “Laxmi vs. Union of India (2014) 4 SCC 427 in this case, the Supreme Court has given certain guidelines to prevent acid attack.

  • The seller of the acid has to maintain a register which will contain the details of the person to whom the acid is sold.

  • The seller of the acid should check the photo ID of the buyer.

  • If a person is below the age of 18 years old then he or she will not be allowed to by acid

  • The seller shall note down the purpose for procuring acid.”

Bodies namely Institution of education facility, laboratory of research , medical institutions, public sectors of government and the section of undertaking in public sector who are all permitted to have acid in the institution should comply with guidelines prescribed by the government/A register of usage of acid shall be maintained and the same shall be filed with the concerned SDM. Accountability will be counted of a person who has possession of acid and will be answerable for the same. The acid shall be stored under the supervision of this person and there shall be compulsory checking of the students/ personnel leaving the laboratories/place of storage where acid is used.”


Also in case of In “Marepally Venkata Sree Nagesh vs. State of A.P, in this case the perpetrator who was the husband killed his wife by inserting an acid called mercuric chloride in the inside” of the vagina of wife which ultimately caused renal failure and her death. The husband did this horrific act just on the basis of suspension of wife having illicit relationship with another man. The husband was charged and convicted under Section 302 and 307 IPC.”


ACID ATTACK AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA

Acid assault or attack is an overall issue influencing all regardless of age, position, and religion. It is the most egregious type of sex based viciousness against women. Culprit's point isn't to slaughter the person in question, it is to leave her in a disgraceful condition. Wounds mend and leave scars on the body physically and mentally. Violence against females has turned into a common issue. Regardless of the current laws on acid attack, this terrible wrongdoing has been on the uncontrolled ascent in India. Deterrence is one the means to comply strict law addressing the crimes against women in totality.

The amendments especially the 2013 amendment entered particular sections in Indian penal code, criminal procedure code and Indian evidence act for offences of acid attacks on victims. Prior to this there were no laws regarding these attacks which makes it harder for the victims to seek justice and suffer more anonymity. However not many changes has been noticed in the application of laws in practicality.

VICTIM COMPENSATION AND JUDICIAL APPROACH

Under section 357A of CRPC there is mentioned compensation for the victim who suffers from acid attack. The compensation is given according with the plans and schemes provided with the government of the state. The amount is fixed to be given out to the victims.

There have been a lot of case laws where this legality has surfaced and the decision is given in accordance with the laws

In the case of “Parivartan Kendra v. Union of India, “It was held by supreme court that there is no limit on compensation to be put while declaring the damages to be by the accused to” the victims of acid attacks, particularly when the sufferer has suffered serious injuries on her body which is required to be taken into consideration by this court and this court “can grant even more compensation to the victim than Rs.3 lakh /-.”The court expressed distress on noticing that even after the Supreme Court having passed an order dated 06.02.2013 directing the Union of India and States to implement compensation payable to acid attack victims by creation of separate fund.”


INCREASING ACID ATTACKS

The information of National Crime Records Bureau for cases announced, captured, charge-sheeted and sentenced, both for offense of acid attack don't point to any adjustment in the circumstance.

According to the Data given by NCRB, of every 2014, ”for offense of Acid attack under Section 326A there were an aggregate of 137 cases revealed in regard of which 154 captures were made. Of the considerable number of cases detailed, just 135 were charge-sheeted of which at long last there were only 08 instances of conviction. Of the 135 people charge-sheeted, as it were 12 people were sentenced. For endeavor under Section 326B, absolute episodes detailed were 40 in regard of which 39 captures were made. Just 23 cases were charge-sheeted of which just 3 lead to feelings. All out 28 people were charge-sheeted of which just 3 were sentenced. In 2014, all out number of unfortunate casualties was 146 in cases enrolled for acid attack and 41 for endeavor.”

In the year 2015, there were an aggregate of 123 revealed instances of acid attack in regard of which 192 captures were made. Of all the cases revealed, just 102 were charge-sheeted of which at long last there were only 07 instances of conviction. Of the 141 people charge-sheeted, just 12 people were indicted. For endeavor, all out episodes detailed were 30 in regard of which 37 captures were made. Just 18 cases were charge-sheeted of which none prompted conviction. All out 24 people were charge-sheeted of which just nobody was sentenced. In 2015, complete number of exploited people was 147 for corrosive assault in cases enlisted and 30 for endeavor.

These statistics was published in national crime records bureau giving us some insight on how cases have been attained and addressed in past years the ignorance the acid attack victims are facing in relevance with justice.


CONCLUSION

Acid attack is one of those crimes which horrifies every person male or female, it is a grievous hurt which is intended on behalf of the perpetrator towards the victim which is irrevocable. It is an offence where the criminal throws harmful and dangerous chemicals onto the body parts of another person mainly face. The motive and intent behind such crime is to harm or hurt another person by ruining skin through chemicals causing permanent damage

The grievous hurt in acid attacks is more than that in the cases of rape. Rape is considered as destroying the very soul of the victim, but even then if she is kept at a safe place she can stay without revealing their identity but in the case of an acid attack, they have to face the society and handle the stress of strangers which always is associated with pity. In this situation the solution that deems to be right is making a particular legislation which deals with the acid attack victims and the problem of the acid availability etc. because the acid victims will have to face problem in their whole life and watch for their permanent scarring forever.


BY PRIYA GOUNI

Class of 2018 -23, SYMBIOSIS LAW SCHOOL, HYDERABAD


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