Author: Mohammed Raihan, 3rd year student at Christ University, Lavasa, Pune.
Citation: 2015 SCC OnLine SC 1281
Date of decision: 7th December 2015
Bench: M.Y. Eqbal, C. Nagappan.
Original copy: link
The statute involved: Indian constitution, code of criminal procedure (CrPC)
- Whether the provisions that are laid down in case of Laxmi v. Union of India, criminal law amendment ordinance 2013, survivors of acid attack compensation scheme amounting to Rs. 3 lakhs are implemented across the nation?
- Whether there is a need for standard treatment guidelines for managing the victims of the acid attack? And also provide other guidelines to ensure speedy treatment and recovery of the victims?
- Are there any additional measures to be taken so that the fundamental rights of the citizens are protected?
- The petitioner is a registered NGO that fights for justice for the victims of acid attacks. They represent a young Dalit girl (Chanchal), 18yrs old who is a victim of the acid attack in Bihar. She studies computer science and aims to be a computer engineer.
- On 21st October 2015 when Chanchal and her sister were sleeping on the rooftop of the house, four assailants climbed the house and threw acid on her face. It was alleged that these four assailants were verbally harassing her for a sexual relationship.
- Chanchal, as well as her sister, was injured due to the attack and she was taken to the Patna medical college and hospital, where the doctor delayed the treatment which worsened the treatment of both the girls especially Chanchal.
- The family has to bear all the expenses and the victim’s family was given 2,42,000/- by the government of Bihar, where the cost of primary medication went up to Rs. 5 lakhs. But this was not sufficient to cover the losses caused to the girls and the family. However, the family has suffered a lot of mistreatment from the side of hospital staff as well as doctors because they were Dalits.
- Even after the incident police did not take any action against the accused until the pressure from the media arose. Chanchal’s father thereafter approached the NGO. As a result, she was shifted to the Delhi Safdarjung hospital where she was finally received proper treatment.
- On 8.02.2013, the IG of police-reported to the media that they will be recording the statement of the victim. However, no such statement has been submitted before the court to date of filing this writ petition.
- By this writ petition, the petitioner sought justice, compensation, and restoration of the dignity of the victim. The petitioner further stated that despite guidelines in Laxmi’s case no proper legislation or enactment has been passed by any government in India to prevent these attacks. The petitioner contends Bangladesh for passing a law for acid victims and attackers which is much stronger than the Indian law.
- With regards to the facts and issues raised in this case, the court held that Rs. 3 lakh compensation is minimum and states shall provide more amount as and when there’s a need. The court also noted that this injury was an inhuman and traumatizing one.
- The court further contends that the state for not keeping a check over the distribution of acid so that it could have prevented it from going into the wrong hands. Hence the court orders strict action against those supplying acid without authorization.
- The court further observed the failure of the state to comply with the victims’ compensation scheme as ordered by the court earlier in the case of Laxmi v. UOI. The court addressed the burden of the state but stated that it was necessary to help victims in rehabilitation.
- Therefore the supreme court ordered compensation amounting to Rs. 10 lakh to Chanchal and Rs. 3 lakh to her sister to be paid within 3 months from the date of order. Further, the court has directed the state to make provisions including acid attacks. And also to include their names in the disability list.
This is a landmark case of acid attack in India the case was filed by an NGO Parivartan Kendra on behalf of two sisters who were the victims of the acid attack. The organization filed a writ petition based on the public interest under Article 32 of the constitution to address the acid attack victims. This case came after the decision of Laxmi v. UOI. The petitioner bought to the attention of the court the increasing number of acid attack cases and also established a strong ground of legislative enactment in this case. The judgment by the court is progressive in stressing the need for increased compensation for the victims. But the court finds it’s required for helping the victims and also meeting their medical expenses to empower them for a better future. The court in its judgment has asked the state to formulate guidelines and procedures for the acid attack.