The laws in other countries

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Date added: 17-06-26

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Chapter 3 Comparative Analysis of the laws in other countries vis-a-vis India
  1. Legislation w.r.t Criminal Law including investigation and Punishment
  2. Provisions w.r.t Victim Compensation and Treatment
  3. Steps taken w.r.t sale and Regulation of corrosive acids
  4. Steps taken to ensure Implementation of the laws at the ground level
  1. Legislation w.r.t Criminal Law including Investigation and Punishment
When it comes to Legislation Bangladesh has the most stringent laws w.r.t. acid violence. The maximum punishment of death[1] is inflicted on the accused if throwing the acid results in killing the person or if by throwing acid the sight or ear is damaged fully or partially or if it results in disfiguration/damage to the face/breast or sexual organs. Throwing of acid or even an attempt to throw acid is punishable up to a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.[2] Also a specific provision makes aiding and abetting the commission of an acid attack liable to the same extent as the commission of the acid attack itself. Cambodia on the other hand makes intentional killing by acid /criminal offence leading to the death of the victims unintentionally or cause the victims to commit suicide punishable up to 30 years.[3] Causing death unintentionally due to carelessness invites a punishment of up to 5 years and a fine of 2 million riel. Perpetrating intentional violence on others by using concentrated acid invites the maximum punishment of 5 years with a maximum fine of 10 million riels. Under the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 if hurt is caused by acid violence then it is punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than 14 years and a million fine of 1 million rupees.[4] Under Indian Law 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 administering acid to that person, with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to life and with fine.[5] Unlike the Bangladesh Law wherein anyone causing death is punished without the requirement to prove intention or knowledge, the Indian Law requires the prosecution to further prove that such burns/ disfiguration were caused with the intention/ with the knowledge of causing such burns or bodily injury. Moreover there is a time frame of 30 days for the completion of investigation. 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. In order to expedite the 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. 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. Also the Bangladesh Act ensures 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.[6] Also in Bangladesh there are special Acid Tribunals for speedy disposal of cases w.r.t acid Violence. 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.[7]
  1. Provisions w.r.t Victim Compensation and Treatment
The Acid Control Act, 2002 of Bangladesh mandates the creation of National Acid Control Council funds and district committee funds to finance awareness-raising campaigns and provides assistance to acid survivors for treatment, rehabilitation, and legal aid. Also the fine of 1 lakh taka is to be paid to the victim of such attacks. Also Chapter 3 of the Cambodian Legislation deals with Support of the Victim(s) of Concentrate Acid Attack. Article 10 enjoins the relevant authority to immediately bring the victim(s) to the closest health centers, state-own hospital or any other state-own health institutions.[8] Article 11 makes it mandatory for the state and the hospitals to treat the victims free of charge and Art 12 talks about rehabilitative measures to be taken.[9]The Pakistan 2012 Bill establishes the Acid and Burn Crime Monitoring Board and describes its role and responsibilities. The bill also provides for government funding for the Board’s functioning. A new Bill titled Criminal Law Amendment Act 2014 is pending in the National Assembly. It is proposing introduction of a new Section 166A in the Pakistan Penal Code.[10] Section 166B further penalizes non-treatment of victims of acid violence by a Private or a Government hospital to a fine of Rs.25, 000. The Indian law unlike the law in other countries doesn’t formulate any National Board/Council for the overseeing of victim’s treatment or rehabilitation. The National Commission of Women Bill recommended it but it was never adopted.[11] However Section 326A of the IPC does provide that the fine imposed shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment to the victim and would be paid to the victim. Also the newly Inserted Section 357B states that compensation payable by the State Government u/s 357A shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim u/s 326 A or Section 376D IPC. Further Section 357C[12] enjoins all hospitals, public or private, whether run by the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other person to immediately provide the first-aid or medical treatment free of cost to the victims of any offence covered u/s 326A, 376, 376A-E of the IPC and shall immediately inform the police of such incident. Section 166B of the Code makes a person incharge of a hospital, public or private, whether run by the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other person liable if such hospital contravens the provision of Section 357C of Crpc punishable up to imprisonment for a maximum term of 1 year or with fine. The Supreme Court has further ensured that the amount of compensation to be paid to victims of acid violence should be atleast 3 lakhs.[13] However under the Indian laws there is no authority to monitor such compliance by the hospitals. Also there is no authority/ council to oversee that the victims receive the compensation amount in time. Even after the Supreme Court judgment many acid attack victims still haven’t received the initial 1 lakh Rs. Compensation which they are supposed to get within 15 days of the attack for the essential treatment. The victims don’t know whom to approach for the money and are made to run from pillar to post, from one government department to the next.
  1. Steps taken w.r.t sale and Regulation of corrosive acids
The Acid Control Act (ACA) of Bangladesh creates a licensing regime that regulates the sale, storage, distribution, and use of acid. The ACA creates a National Acid Control Council (NACC) which institute policies relating to the trade of acid, enact policies to prevent its misuse etc.[14] The Acid Control Act lays down setting up of District committees which are responsible for implementing the national guidelines and enacting local measures to further regulate acid. The Deputy Commissioner chairs the District committee while its members include the district’s Superintendent of Police, the Civil Surgeon (head of the district health department), the director of the district department of women affairs, the director of the district social welfare services, the district public prosecutors, NGO representatives, and also acid users associations. Furthermore the Act punishes the unlicensed production, import, transport, storage, sale, and use of acid by a prison term of 3 to 10 years, and a fine of up to Tk. 50,000. It establishes the central government as the licensing authority for import licenses and the deputy commissioner as the licensing authority for transport, storage, seller, and user licenses. It also requires license holders to keep informational records relating to all acid use. Thus there is specific machinery in place and the 15 member National Acid Control Council is tasked with regulating sale of acid and preventing its misuse with the help of committees at the district level headed by the district commissioner who is empowered to take action if the need arises. The Cambodian Law on Regulating Concentrate Acid passed in November 2011 and came in to force December 2011. This law criminalizes acid violence provides regulations and controls for all forms of concentrate acid. The 2011 legislation deals with regulation of the Sale of Acid under Articles 5 – 9.[15] The Act introduces a licensing regime and also makes the Production, innovation, import, export, packaging, transportation, carry, distribute, buying, selling, storing, and using of all kind of Concentrate Acid without license or permission a punishable offence. The sub decree[16] brought out in 2013 lays down the formalities and conditions for sale, purchase, storage, transportation and use of strong acid of all types so as to prevent, curb and suppress any offence caused by strong acids. Article 6 of the Sub-Decree enjoins the seller/ distributer of strong acids to have a fixed place for selling and distributing strong acids and also to persons showing the relevant documents for the purpose. But unlike in Bangladesh there is no specific machinery to check and enforce the provisions of the 2011 legislation and the Sub-decree. In Pakistan while the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act was passed unanimously by Parliament, the unlicensed sale of acid has not been regulated. Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently asked Parliament to issue strict orders for the regulation of acid sales and purchases in accordance with the new laws.[17] In India it is the Supreme Court that has been at the forefront regarding the control of sale and regulation of acid. In Laxmi’s case the Supreme Court in its order dated 18th July’2013 gave directions on the sale of corrosive substances over the counter and while storage and transport of corrosive substances.[18] The central government after the order brought out “The Model Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013”[19] to serve as a guideline for the various State Government to follow after amending it to serve the particular State’s interest. After repeatedly being directed by the Supreme Court to do so, a number of state Government’s complied and framed rules to regulate sale of acid and other corrosive substances in line with the Model Rules framed by the Central Government. As per the latest order of the Supreme Court dated 22nd April’2014 States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, have still not complied with the order dated 3.12.2013 and the Chief Secretaries of these States were directed to ensure that compliance of the order dated 3.12.2013 is positively made and affidavit of compliance is filed in this Court on or before 15.7.2014 failing which the Court would initiate contempt proceedings against the defaulting States.[20] Many states that have complied have not framed rules as stringent as those of the Central Government Model Rules. States like Bihar have a compensation package of Rs. 25,000 for the victims of acid violence, a meager amount considering that on average an acid attack victim has to go through about 20 surgeries running into tens of lakhs of Rupees. As per Section 15 every license holder is mandated to maintain a register listing out each and every sale of poison.[21] Moreover these rules only create a licensing regime and contain provisions making person liable for carrying/storing acid without a licence. Section 11 of the Model Rules does empower an Executive Magistrate or a Police officer of the rank of Sub-Inspector and above or a Medical Officer appointed by the State Government to visit and inspect the premises of the license holder where a poison is kept for sale and may inspect all poisons found therein and the registers. But these provisions aren’t followed and sale of acid continues in the open moreso since the punishment awarded for non-compliance is ineffective does not act as a deterrent. Anyone found violating the provisions would be punishable, - (i) On a first conviction, with imprisonment for a term which may, extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or with both, and (ii) On a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months, or with fine, which may extend to one thousand, rupees, or with both. A punishment of 500 Rs. or 1000 Rs. makes these rules a “toothless instrument”.
  1. Steps taken to ensure Implementation of the laws at the ground level
In Bangladesh the Acid Control Act (ACA) creates specific machinery for the enforcement of the grievances of the victims or the regulation of acids or the dispensation of criminal justice. The ACA creates a National Acid Control Council (NACC) which institute policies relating to the trade of acid, enact policies to prevent its misuse etc.[22] The Acid Control Act lays down setting up of District committees which are responsible for implementing the national guidelines and enacting local measures to further regulate acid. The Deputy Commissioner chairs the District committee while its members include the district’s Superintendent of Police, the Civil Surgeon (head of the district health department), the director of the district department of women affairs, the director of the district social welfare services, the district public prosecutors, NGO representatives, and also acid users associations. National Acid Control Council funds and district committee funds to finance awareness-raising campaigns and provides assistance to acid survivors for treatment, rehabilitation, and legal aid. Also Acid-offences Prevention Tribunals have been set up[23] solely to try acid cases and there is a strict timeframe in place for the investigation and trial of acid violence cases. This couple with stringent punishement helps in the implementation process and therefore there is a 20 % drop each year in cases of acid attack from their peak in 2002. Pakistan in its 2014 Bill (tabled on 8th April’2014) has recommended the establishment of the Acid and Burn Crime Monitoring Board describing its role and responsibilities. The bill also provides for government funding for the Board’s functioning.[24] In India inspite of so many laws and the efforts of the Supreme Court, acid continues to be sold easily. Checking for Id cards and maintaining registers is not followed. Also the supreme court direction on Rs. 3Lakh compensation is not followed and even don’t know where to go and collect the funds. They are made to run from the health Ministry department to the Hiome ministry to the National Commision for Women. There is also no clarity regarding payment of treatment to the hospitals. Under the new provision in the Indian Penal Code, all hospitals are enjoined to provide free treatment to victims of acid violence, but many victims have been made to return by hospitals as there is no clarity to them whether they would be paid. They ask the victim for proofs of the acid attack and send the victim back on technical grounds. India needs a national and a district level authority like the National Council, which can serve as an intermediary between the victim and the state. Both the national Commission for Women and the Law Commission have recommended for Compensation/Monitoring Boards[25] at the Centre, State and District levels in the country which if implemented would help in the implementation of the laws prevalent in the country.
[1] Supra n.64. [2] Supra n.66. [3] Supra n.103. [4] Supra n.121. [5] See Section 326B of the Indian Penal Code.
  1. [6] For details see Chapter 2.1.2- Legislative Provisions in Bangladesh.
[7]Ibid. [8] Supra n.99. [9] Supra n.100 and 101. [10] Supra n.123. [11] Supra n.139. [12] For details see Chapter 2.4.2- Legislative Provisions in India. [13] Ibid. [14] See Supra n. 71, 72, 73 and 74. [15] Supra n.97. [16] Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), No.48 S.E. Sub Decree on the Formalities and Conditions for Strong Acid Control, the Royal Government of Cambodia, 19th Feb’2013. [17] Supra n.115 at 37. See also Gishkori, Zahid. “Lawmakers agree on stringent laws on Acid Crimes,” The Express Tribune, March 27, 2012, available at: https://tribune.com.pk/story/356019/lawmakers-agree-on-stringent-lawson-acid-crimes-but-leave-out-perptrator/(Visited on 20th Jan 2014). [18] See Supra n.14. [19] The Model Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013 Notified by the Central Government to act as guidelines to the State Govt. to enact their own respective Model Rules to regulate the sale and distribution of acids. [20] For Details see Infra n. 224. [21] See Sections 11 and 15 of The Model Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013. [22] For details see Chapter 2.1.2- Legislative Provisions in Bangladesh. [23] Ibid. [24] For details see Acid and Burn Crime Bill available at: http://www.na.gov.pk/uploads/documents /1396955238_474.pdf(Visited on April 23, 2014). [25] For more details See Chapter 2.4.3 Draft Bills and Reports.
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