It’s been over a month since the Supreme Court passed an order banning over-the-counter sale of acid. Yet, when we went around the city, we found a lot of stores willing to sell bottles of Hydrochloric and Sulphuric Acid without any prescription.
The number of acid attack cases registered in our country is immense. And most of the victims are young girls. This kind of abuse scars one for life. The Supreme Court acknowledged this and hence brought up this ban following/in lieu of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an acid attack victim Laxmi in July.
The violation of this order attracts prosecution under the Poisons Act, 1919. Any person below the age of 18 will not be allowed to buy acid. Only the people exempted under the provision of the Poison Act are allowed to engage in the sale of or possession of the Acid.
These regulations are turning out to be a mere eyewash with hardware stores and retailers readily agreeing to sell acid without even asking for the reason of purchase.
A substance as hazardous like acid in the wrong hands can create havoc. The ignorance being shown by both the shopkeepers and the authorities is dangerous.
Regular checks , raids and stringent punishment to the offenders would be the way to go from here. It would go a long way in making India safer environment for women.
Most common people aren’t even aware of this Ban. “I use Hydrochloric Acid for cleaning my tiles. It is the best way to get rid of stubborn stains.” Said Tamanna Verma when we caught her buying Hydrochloric acid from a departmental store.
Awareness needs to be spread not only amongst the retailers , but also the citizens. This monitoring and regulation of acid sale is a step in the right direction and needs to be implemented properly.