Indian judges order curbs on acid sales

2013-07-18 20:16

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New Delhi - India's top court ruled on Thursday that authorities must regulate the sale of acid used in a spate of attacks on women by jilted boyfriends and others.

A panel of Supreme Court judges also said that every victim of such an attack must be "rehabilitated and compensated" by their respective state government.

In an interim judgement, the court said each victim should be paid 300 000 rupees ($5 000) as well as have medical costs covered, pending a final ruling on the level of compensation.

Earlier this month, the same court had rebuked the central government for failing to formulate a policy to reduce the number of acid attacks on women.

An acid called "Tezaab", which is designed to clean rusted tools but is often used in the attacks, can currently be bought over the counter.

But the judges said the buyer of such acids should in future have to provide a photo identity card to any retailer when they make a purchase.

The retailers must register the name and address of the buyer.

Growing public anger at the levels of violence against women was fuelled last December by the horrifying gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi, prompting a toughening of laws on sexual violence.

Under Indian law, anyone found guilty of an acid attack that causes "grievous injury" faces a minimum 10 years behind bars and can be jailed for life in the most extreme cases.

In one particularly notorious recent incident, four sisters suffered severe burns after being attacked with acid by two men on a motorbike while they were walking home in northern India last year.

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