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2-min read

NCW Creates National Digital Database of Acid Attacks For Speedy Redressal and Compensation

KL Sharma, Joint Secretary, National Commission for Women under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, told News18 that the database was created two months ago solely by the commission and now receives ‘real time data on acid attacks from all over India.’

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:January 15, 2018, 6:23 PM IST
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Image for representation.

New Delhi: The National Commission for Women has prepared a national digital database of acid attacks in a bid to exert pressure on police heads of various states to ensure speedy redressal and compensation.

KL Sharma, Joint Secretary, National Commission for Women under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, told News18 that the database was created two months ago solely by the commission and now receives ‘real time data on acid attacks from all over India.’

“We have built up a digital database of acid attacks that has happened throughout the country. There is complete monitoring of the attacks. We are getting data on real time basis from all the states,” Sharma said.

“The database has the details of the attacks that has happened, what is the action that has been taken, whether it is under investigation and in which stage, which stage is the charge sheet in and if it has been filed then what is the status of case in court. In the meanwhile, if interim compensation has been granted, then whether it has been paid, and what is the status of the final compensation,” he added.

Acid attack cases are increasing every year. Formally reported cases increased from 85 in 2012 to 140 in 2015, while it is believed that there are many which are not reported, according to the NCRB data. The victims have mostly been women between the ages of 14 and 35, and attacks often occur as revenge for rejecting a marriage proposal or sexual advances, for not bringing enough dowry, for bearing a female child, for not cooking a good enough meal, and so on.

Sharma told News18 that the data cannot be accessed by all as it is only shared with a selected few government departments.

“We are sharing the database with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, PMO and the Ministry of Home Affairs,” said Sharma who stated that the data is being used to “put the pressure on the DGP of various states to ensure that investigation happens very promptly. Wherever there is a time lag, there is pressure on state governments that interim compensation is also paid immediately”.

However, Sharma believes that there is indeed room for improvement in the laws relating to acid attacks but the work needed more would be on its implementation and enforcement.

“At the legal level, after Section 326A and Section 326B has been added to IPC, the law clearly makes the offences punishable and it does not any scope of doubt in so far as criminalizing the offence is concerned. But we need to look into enforcement and implementation. There could be some improvement needed in law. We need to see how interventions can be made in this stage to correct the situation,” said Sharma.

Sections 326A and 326B of the IPC were added after the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 2013. Before this, perpetrators were typically charged with causing hurt, which only invited a punishment of three years.

In Laxmi v. Union of India and Others (2015), the Supreme Court had laid out clear guidelines on compensation to be paid to acid attack victims.

The latest report of the NCRB (2016) recorded 283 incidents and 307 victims under Section 326A (acid attack) and Section 326B (attempt to carry out an acid attack) of the IPC. Of these, 26% (76 incidents) and 27% of the victims were from West Bengal. In comparison, during the same period, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state with over double the population of West Bengal, recorded 57 incidents and 61 victims.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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