The Supreme Court on Friday asked all private hospitals across the country to provide free treatment, including medicines and corrective surgeries, to acid attack victims.
The Social Justice Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Uday U Lalit asked all state governments and Union Territories to immediately take up the matter with the private hospitals to ensure that acid attack victims are attended to immediately and adequately.
Private hospitals have also been directed to issue certificates to such people endorsing them as acid attack victims. The certificate will be issued by the first hospital that an acid attack victim approaches and will be used for claiming future benefits.
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The court further observed that governments should provide Rs 3 lakh financial relief to acid attack victims. On banning over-the-counter sale of acid across the country, it asked all states and UTs to notify acid as a scheduled substance to stop its unregulated sale.
It directed its orders be sent to chief secretaries of all states and UTs for compliance and directed them to publicise it to ensure awareness among the people.
The directive came a day after the Centre told the court that private hospitals were bound to provide not just first aid to acid attack victims and but also free-of-cost treatment. Hospitals refusing first aid or free treatment to such people should be penalised, the central government had told the court.
As reported by The Indian Express on Thursday, the year 2014 had seen a never-before 309 acid attack incidents being reported from across the country. It was almost 300 percent more than the average number of such cases witnessed during the preceding three years.
The years 2011, 2012 and 2013 witnessed a total of 83, 85 and 66 cases having been reported respectively but this number shot up to 309 in 2014 — it is almost four times the average number of acid attack cases in the preceding years.