NEW DELHI: In the wake of the continuing acid attacks on women, the Centre has been forced to list such cases in the ‘heinous crimes’ category, besides fixing a time-frame for investigation and trial to ensure speedy justice.
A day after acid was thrown on a woman doctor in West Delhi, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come out with a statement: “All such cases where maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence is possible will be categorised as heinous crimes.”
As per Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, a person convicted for acid attack can be sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years or life.
In an attempt to strengthen legal and administrative framework to check acid attacks, Home Minister Rajnath Singh approved various measures on Wednesday. The trial of the offences under Section 376A-D of the IPC has to be completed within 60 days. The MHA is now planning to extend this provision further by suitable amendments in the CrPC for time bound investigation and trial of all cases related to heinous crimes.
The government also proposes to bring suitable amendments in law to set a time-frame for disposal of appeals by the courts especially in cases of heinous crimes, including acid attacks, to ensure speedy justice. In order to regulate the sale of acid, a web application having functionalities such as registration of stockists and retailers, issue of licences by the district administration, sale of acid to individuals only after recording personal details such as proof of identity and address of the purchaser will be developed. This measure will help to crackdown on the unauthorised sale of acid in the country.
Moreover, the victims of acid attacks need to be treated by hospitals in a hassle-free manner.
The MHA will develop a new mechanism in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Finance and insurance companies so that victims of acid attacks are treated on a cashless basis and the treatment amount is paid from the Central Victim Compensation Fund which is proposed to be set up by the MHA.
Steps will be taken to include the acid attack victims in the category of physically challenged persons/persons with disability so that they are able to avail the benefits of reservation, training, self-employment loan.