Supreme Court Judgment: Acid attack victims to be included in disability list by the state and union territories

In a Writ Petition filed before the Supreme Court, the Court has condemned the terrible way that how the Bihar Government and its law enforcement has treated the acid attack victim and directed all the States and Union Territories to include acid attack victims in the disability list for granting them the benefits. The petition was filed by the NGO Parivartan Kendra which highlighted the plight of two girls of Bihar who were brutally attacked by the assailants who threw the acid on the face around. The judgment has empathized with the humiliation of the victim that how the family rushed to the hospital and had to wait till next morning for the doctor to arrive. The treatment was slipshod and the victim had to be shifted to Delhi for extensive surgeries. The police have arrested the accused after the following the intense media and uproar among the public over the incident. However the Bihar Police did not take the victim’s statement despite having an assurance from the Inspector General of Police.

The Division bench of Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice C. Nagappan while delivering the judgment have criticized the Centre and State for the lack of legal guarantee to free medical care and rehabilitation and inadequate compensation scheme and further said that the stringent action must be taken against the person supplying the acid without proper authorization and the authorities must be responsible for the failure to keep a check on the distribution of the acid. The Court has also observed that apart from the physical pain, the victim also faces the social stigma and the fewer job possibilities. In addition to this, the court has ordered the Bihar Government to pay Rupees 13 Lakh to the victims. However, the compensation must not only be awarded in terms of physical injury but the victim’s inability to lead a full life has to be considered. The Apex Court directed the States and Union Territories to include acid attack victims in the social justice ministry's disability list so as to access government welfare schemes and reservation in jobs and education centre. Furthermore, the court has clarified that the private hospital should give the free treatment to acid attack victims and the free treatment not only includes the medical treatment but also provide the medicines, food, reconstructive surgery.

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