In simple language, we can say that crime is an act that is unlawful and punishable by the government. Crime is not only committed against one person but also a community. We the people are only responsible for a crime. Crime is not created by God, human beings are responsible for crimes. There are different types of crimes and punishment depends upon the types of crime. Attack on women is always a constant process. The status of Women always remains powerless and portentous. Out of the many violence committed against her, acid attack is the most dangerous and terrible wrong.
Acid attack is a cognizable crime and non-bailable. Throwing acid is not a crime against individuals but the whole community. Acid attack results in the violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Acid attack is the most terrible form of crime. Woman becomes most of the victims of an acid attack. The acid attack becomes common in different types of countries. It is the alternative form of taking revenge to exploit the life of a woman. Life of the victims become pathetic.
LAWS RELATED TO ACID ATTACKS
In recent times, there was no specific provision in the legal system of cases related to acid attacks. 226th Law commission Report and a committee headed by Justice J.S Verma deals with the acid attack were introduced. Amendment was made in Criminal law Act, 2013 and added Section 326A and 326B in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and define punishment who committed acid attack and also introduced an additional clause under Section 100 which gives an exception from criminal liability by giving the right of private defence.
It is defined in Section 326A that if any person who voluntarily causes hurt by throwing acid to any person should be awarded 10 years of life imprisonment along with a fine. Fine depends upon the cost of treatment of the victim and according to Section 326B defines the punishment for an attempt to throw, minimum punishment is 5 years of imprisonment which may increases up to 7 years along with a fine. Definition of acid is that any acidic substance or corrosive and burning in nature which causes terrible hurt and disfigured the appearance of the victim this definition of Acid is defined in section 326A IPC.
Amendment of 2013 Act, also inserted section 114B sentiment as to acid attack in favour of the victim under Indian Evidence Act, 1872. In the constitution of our country prerequisite for granting remedies and save guards against such egregious crime under the head of fundamental rights and Directive principles. There is a violation of the right to life, right to employment and many other fundamental rights of the victim which are protected under articles 12 to 35 of the constitution.
In India step has been taken up by National Commission for Women (NCW) to provide relief to the victim of an acid attack. Supreme Court in case of Laxmi Vs. Union of India laid down that the regulations for the sale of acid. Court ordered states to enact suitable sentiment for regulations of sale of acid.
Despite many actions and laws, there is still a continuous rise in the cases of acid attacks every day. There is no decrement in the number of cases. The legal system of our country needs to get stricter for instance tit for tat i.e. same type of acid should be thrown on their face so that the accused can understand the grievous pain of the victim. This type of punishment will give the message to the people, this is the best way to decrease the number of cases.
DIFFERENT CAUSES OF ACID ATTACK
- Male- domineering society
- Easily available of acids in very less amount
- Domestic Violence
- Peer jealousy
- Denial of the proposal of marriage
- Denial of sexual intercourse
- Defending the honour of the family
- The sick mindset of society
- Lack of education as men and women don’t know the rights of others.
SUFFERING OF THE VICTIMS
- Physical consequences: The physical consequences of acid is very dangerous. Acid burns the two-layer of skin into fat and muscles, acid can go down to the bone and bone gets dissolve and if the bone gets dissolve then it is a matter of serious concern. Due to an acid attack, the physical appearance of the victim becomes disfigured and in many cases, the victim loses their sense organs like eyes, nose, ear, skin etc.
- Psychological impact: psychological impact is more dangerous as it gives pain to the victim. Many diseases develop for example depression, insomnia, trepidation, nightmares, lack of self-confidence, frustration, lack of self-assurance, feeling of abandonment which might lead to suicidal tendencies. This psychological impact ruins the lives of many innocent young women.
- Financial impact: Acid attacks also result in financial problems as a huge amount of money is invested in the treatment of the victim, a victim of an acid attack undergoes many surgeries which cost heavily. The victim faces many challenges to get employment, they get refused because of their disfigured appearance.
- Social impact: the physical appearance of a person becomes so dreadful and frightful. Victims who are unmarried face a lot of difficulties in their marriage because of the thinking of narrow-minded members of society. All such types of feelings make victim feels inferior that they shun away from society.
THROWING ACID IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN MURDER
Throwing acid is a crime against human rights and violates Article 21 of the Constitution which is the most cheeks form of fundamental rights said by the Karnataka High Court.
In the case of Mahesha v. State through Malebennur Police bench of Justice B.Veerappa and Justice V. Srishananda accused is awarded with life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 10 Lakhs under section 326A of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and also fine of Rs.50, 000 punishable under section 307 of IPC. The accused proposed victim to marry her and she refused to marry as her family has not given consent to marry. To take revenge accused pour acid on her face and caused severe corrosive injuries and disfigured her face.
Nazrul Islam v. The state of West Bengal and Ors.: In this case petition was filed by the victim under section 375A of the code of civil procedure. Court held that free medical assistance should be given to the victim from any Hospital either private or public and the victim was also awarded Rs. 3,00,000/- from the state.
Devanand v. State: In this case, the accused throw sulphuric acid on his wife when she was living at her parents’ home and forced his wife to indulge in sexual intercourse but she refused then accused throw acid on her face due to this horrendous act she lost her sightedness of one eye and Court awarded him 7 years rigorous of imprisonment.
Sabana Khatun v. State of West Bengal and Ors.: Writ petition was filed by the victim in High Court as accused pour acid in her mouth as compensation was denied by the chief secretary of West Bengal. Compensation can be only given by the recommendation of the state legal service Authority and this was denied by the court. The further court held that Rs. 0.3 million to be given to the victim.
State of Maharashtra v. Ankur Panwar: In this case acid was pour on the victim which results in failure of all respiratory organ systems and she died. The reason for pouring acid is that she refused to marry him. A petition was filed under sections 302 and 326A of the Indian penal code,1860 and the death penalty is awarded to him along with the fine of rupees 5,000.
Parivartan Kendra and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors.: In this case, Supreme Court ordered to provide even more money than Rs.0.3 million by the government of the state and union territories. In the Laxmi V. Union of India case restriction was made in the sale of acid but still, acid is easily available thus abrogating the decision of the court and making the life of the women defeatist and pessimistic.
From the above blog, we can conclude that the position of women is always fragile and feeble. A number of violence is suffered by women for ages. Out of many crimes, acid attack is considered to be the most horrendous act of violence faced by her. Acid burns the two layers of skin and skin fat and muscle. In many cases, a woman loses their sense organ. There can be many reasons for an acid attack but 7 cases out of 10 is due to refusal of the proposal of marriage and sexual intercourse. Compensation is given to victims along with free medical treatment given by State. Accused is awarded seven years of rigorous punishment along with fine and in the rare case death penalty is also awarded.
Author’s Name: Umra Khan (Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi)
 Criminal law Act, 2013
 Section 326 A of Indian Penal Code, 1860
 Section 326B of Indian Penal code, 1860
 Laxmi V. Union of India 2014 SCC 427
 Mahesha v. State by Malebennur police 2021
 Nazrul Islam v. The state of West Bengal and ors 2016
 Sabana Khatun v. State of west Bengal 2018
 State of Maharashtra V. Ankur Panwar 2002
 Parivartan Kendra and Anr. V. Union of India and ors 2015