The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Friday issued a list of recommendations for the government to regulate and monitor the sale of acid, after data from the National Crime Records Bureau from 2014 showed that the capital ranked third in the number of acid attacks (20) in the country.
Among the recommendations is one that suggests utilising money recovered through penalties for rehabilitation of acid attack victims, implying assistance for victims at the cost of the culprits.
Following a 2013 order by the Supreme Court in the case of Laxmi vs. Union of India — which placed restrictions on sale of acid and made maintenance of records on acid buyers mandatory — the DCW had requested district magistrates to furnish the information for the past two years from areas in their jurisdiction.
Submissions revealed that only 13 of the 33 subdivisions maintained records of acid retailers. Among these, five have failed to regulate acid sales till date.
In addition, penalties were levied against irregular sale of acid only in 15 subdivisions, with the total amount collected being Rs 16,78,000.
The DCW also found that the punishment for unlicensed sale of acid, which is a maximum of one year imprisonment, is not in proportion to the severity of the crime that can be committed.
In the hope of curbing crimes against women that take place due to unregulated acid sale, the DCW suggested the government utilise legislation similar to the Acid Control Act of Bangladesh. The Act succeeded in reducing incidents of acid crimes by 20 per cent by making unlicensed production, storage, import, transport, sale and use of acid an offense punishable with a prison sentence of three to 10 years.
The DCW also suggested banning retail sale of acid and controlling and monitoring wholesale procurement of the same for commercial and scientific purposes.