Delhi HC Declines Total Acid Sale Ban, Orders Government to Strengthen Implementation of Rules Against Misuse

Delhi High Court Law Insider

LI Network 

Published on: 29 July 2023 at 13:15 IST

The Delhi High Court has declined to impose a complete ban on the sale of acid, directing the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to conduct a comprehensive study to evaluate the potential consequences of such a ban.

The study should examine past acid-related incidents and explore alternative methods to improve public safety.

The Court has instructed the GNCTD to address the shortcomings in the current regulatory system based on the findings of the empirical study and strictly enforce existing rules to prevent misuse.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula emphasized the importance of an evidence-based approach, understanding the impact of a complete prohibition on various sectors, individuals, and businesses.

The Court recommended engaging with stakeholders, including advocacy groups, industry representatives, legal experts, and medical professionals, to gain valuable insights.

The Writ Petition was filed by an acid attack survivor seeking a total ban on over-the-counter acid sales in retail stores.

Despite previous Supreme Court directives to regulate acid sales, the government allegedly failed to address the issue effectively.

The petitioner’s survey showed that acid was readily available in various parts of the city, posing a significant threat to public safety.

While evaluating the necessity of a total ban, the Court recognized the need for a thorough review of laws and their consequences. Rather than imposing a complete ban, the Court stressed the importance of strictly enforcing existing rules and regulations regarding acid sales.

This approach, the Court argued, would effectively regulate acid sales and prevent misuse for criminal purposes, while still allowing for legitimate uses in different industries.

The Court cautioned that a blanket ban could inadvertently affect businesses and individuals who require acid for lawful purposes.

It proposed balancing public safety concerns with safeguarding the legitimate needs of various industries. By strictly implementing the existing rules, authorities can effectively regulate acid sales and prevent misuse.

The Court directed the State to enforce acid sale regulations rigorously and impose severe penalties on offenders to reduce acid attacks. The petitioner was granted permission to return to the Court in case of any breaches after a reasonable amount of time.

In conclusion, the Court disposed of the petition filed by Shaheen Malik against the State of GNCTD through the Principal Secretary and others.

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