NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Delhi government to file response on a plea filed by an acid attack survivor, seeking directions to ban the sale of acid across retail counter shops in the national capital, alleging that the chemical was still easily available despite the Supreme Court's guidelines regarding banning and regulating the sale of it.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar was hearing a plea filed by 37-year-old Shaheen Malik through his advocates Mohammad Aman Khan and Tenzin Chodon, who said that the apex court had specifically laid down various guidelines regarding banning and regulating the sale of acid.
"Further the amended 'The Delhi Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2015' is aimed at regulating the sale of acid. However, the same has not been implemented and the ground realities regarding easy availability of acid across counter remain the same," the petition said, adding that Delhi Government opted for the regulation of the sale of acid and amended the provisions of the said act to include acid in it.
"However, the amended provision and other measures have resulted in futile exercise since the acid attacks are on the rise and none of the provisions and guidelines are being implemented," the plea said citing various incidents.
The petitioner told the court that the situation has become worse now since the perpetrators of the crime have started using more inhumane and barbaric methods of acid attack. Recently, the petitioner herself has seen and assisted two cases of acid attack where the victims were forced to drink acid burning their vital organs like oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach.
"This cruel act leaves victim on a path towards slow painful death," the litigant said.
The litigant submitted that there is no need for acid to be readily available for the common public and the acid, which is sold at shops in an unregulated manner is usually used for cleaning toilets, chocked sewers, etc.
"There are alternatives available in the market like Harpic, Lizol, and other floor cleaners. The only reason that the acid is relatively cheap cannot sustain to continue such sale of acid," the plea said.
The petitioner requested the High Court to repeal the amended provisions dated August 25, 2017, of "The Delhi Poisons Possession and Sales Rules, 2015" or amend the rules stipulating the sale of acid as a banned entity across the retail counters in the state of Delhi.