The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the chief secretaries of four states on why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for not being present in court for a hearing on the compensation to be paid to the victims of acid attacks.
A bench of Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice C. Nagappan issued notice as the four states – Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Mizoram – had neither filed their affidavits about the framing of the acid attack victim compensation schemes nor were their chief secretaries present in the court as had been directed by its August 18 order.
The apex court had on August 18 directed the state governments to file affidavits stating their respective compensation schemes for acid attack victims failing which the chief secretaries would be personally be present in the court.
The notice is returnable by September 23, the next date of hearing.
Appearing for the petitioner NGO Parivartan Kendra, senior counsel Colin Gonsalves told the court that though the court had said that an acid attack victim would be paid a minimum of Rs.3 lakh compensation but most of the state governments have made it the maximum amount of compensation, while some of the states had clubbed these compensations with other benefits that come to acid attack victim.
Gonsalves also told the court that acid attack victims were not being provided with proper medical treatment as per the schemes formulated in each of the states.
The court was told that by its earlier verdict it had directed the states to regulate the sale of acids across the counter but despite the order, they were freely available and as a consequence there was a steep rise in the number of acid attack cases.
In 2014, a total of 310 acid attack cases were reported in the country. Out of which Uttar Pradesh accounted for the highest number – 186, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 53 cases and Delhi with 27 cases.