No law in J&K to regulate sale of acid, other corrosive substances

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 31: Unbelievable it may sound but it is a fact that militancy affected Jammu and Kashmir does not have any law to regulate the sale of acids and other corrosive substances and a high-level committee, which was constituted to suggest measures in this regard within a period of 15 days, has not come up with the suggestions even after the lapse of four months.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that during the pendency of a writ petition in the Supreme Court filed by a Delhi-based acid attack victim and keeping in view the directions pouring in from the Apex Court in the case, State Government vide Order No.526 dated March 28, 2013, constituted a committee to examine the legal aspects and suggest measures for effective regulation of the sale of acid in the State.
The committee comprising of Administrative Secretaries of Home, Industries and Commerce, Health and Medical Education, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and School Education Departments was directed to submit its report within a period of 15 days.
However, the committee has not come up with suggestions for effective regulation of acid in the State despite the lapse of four months, sources regretted, adding though the committee had some meetings but it has failed to arrive at any conclusion, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Stating that Health and Medical Education Department has a greater role to play in preparing suggestions for regulation of sale of acid and corrosive substances, sources said, “unless this department gives the technical advice on the definition of acid the committee cannot frame its suggestions and presently the response from the Health and Medical Education Department in this regard is awaited”.
Disclosing that presently sale of acid and other corrosive substances was going on without any check in the absence of any law, sources said, “though State Government has made the acid attack an offence in the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws Amendment Bill, which was introduced in the Legislative Assembly during the Budget Session of 2013, yet it has ignored the sales aspect”.
Unlike Centre and several States, Jammu and Kashmir does not even have the Poison Act, which can be amended suitably for bringing acid under its purview and regulating its sale, sources said, adding “keeping in view the latest directions from the Apex Court of the country, J&K will have to enact a law within a period of three months to regulate the acid sale”.
In the absence of any law to regulate the sale of acid and corrosive substances,  the sellers are not maintaining a log/register pertaining to the sale of such material. Moreover, they don’t have the information about the persons purchasing the acid and the purpose thereof.
Responding to another question, sources said, “though the State Government has already floated Victims Compensation Scheme but it will have to again approach the Cabinet for amending the same in order to increase the compensation to the acid victim from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh as directed by the Supreme Court in its latest order”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Supreme Court has made it clear that out of the compensation amount of Rs 3 lakh, Rs one Lakh will be paid within 15 days of the occurrence of the attack being brought to the notice of State Government. The balance Rs 2 lakh will be paid by the State as expeditiously as possible and positively within a period of two months.

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