No over-the-counter sale of acid: UT

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20

The UT Health Department has made it clear that over-the-counter sale of acid is completely prohibited unless the seller maintains a log/register. The buyer, too, is required to establish his credentials by showing a photo ID card carrying his address issued by the government. The purpose of purchase, too, is required to be specified. It will, in any case, not be sold to persons below 18 years of age.

The Administration has also issued a public notice in this regard. The notice comes less than a month after Punjab and Haryana asked the UT to make clear its stand on the issue. “As regards the directions given by the Supreme Court in Laxmi’s case on effective regulation of acid sale in the states and union territories, this court deems it fit that the state of Punjab as well as the Union Territory, Chandigarh, may also make their stand clear on the issue by way of separate affidavits of their respective home secretaries,” Justice Rajan Gupta had asserted, while taking up a petition filed by a victim seeking compensation after acid was thrown on her face on April 6, 2006, when she was returning home with four other girls.

The Health Department has asserted that the Supreme Court, in Laxmi’s case, passed certain directions regarding the sale of acid/corrosive substances. The Administration also notified Poison Rules, 2015, under the Poisons Act of 1919.

The Administration further directed that a log/register, recording acid sale, was required to contain the details of the buyer, his address and the quantity sold. All stocks of acid were also required to be declared by the seller before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned within 15 days.

In case of undeclared stock, it would be open to the SDM concerned to confiscate the same and impose a fine up to Rs 50,000 on the seller. He could also impose a fine up to Rs 50,000 on any person committing breach of the directions.

Educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments and public sector undertakings, required to keep and store acid, would also need to follow certain guidelines, including the maintenance of a register of usage of acid. It would be filed with the SDM concerned.

A person would also be made accountable for possession and safe-keeping of acid on the premises. It would be stored under his supervision and there would be compulsory checking of students/personnel leaving laboratories/place of storage where acid was used. The SDM would be vested with the responsibility of taking appropriate action for breach/default/violation of the above directions.

Justice Gupta, on a previous date of hearing, had made clear the Bench’s intent to examine whether the Supreme Court judgment against unregulated sale of acid was being implemented meticulously in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The home secretaries, too, were directed to file their affidavits.

The direction came after the amicus curiae submitted that it was required to be clarified whether the directions laid down by the Supreme Court in Laxmi’s case against unfettered sale of acid were being followed by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in letter and spirit.


Labs to maintain register of acid use

Educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments and public sector undertakings, required to keep and store acid, will need to follow certain guidelines, including the maintenance of a register of usage of acid. It will be filed with the SDM concerned.

In case of undeclared stock, it will be open to the SDM to confiscate it & impose a fine of up to Rs50K on the seller.

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