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India's top court moves to curb acid attacks

Supreme court says buyer of acids should in future have to provide a photo identity card to retailers.

Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 15:06
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An acid called "Tezaab", which is designed to clean rusted tools, is often used in the attacks [EPA]

India's top court has ruled that authorities must regulate the sale of acid used by jilted boyfriends and others to attack women.

The Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday comes after a particularly notorious incident in which four sisters suffered severe burns after being attacked with acid by two men on a motorbike.

The women were walking home in northern India last year.

A panel of judges also said that every victim of such an attack must be "rehabilitated and compensated" by their respective state government.

In an interim judgement, the court said each victim should be paid $5,000 as well as have medical costs covered, pending a final ruling on the level of compensation.

Earlier this month, the same court had rebuked the central government for failing to formulate a policy to reduce the number of acid attacks on women.

An acid called "Tezaab", which is designed to clean rusted tools but is often used in the attacks, can currently be bought across the counter.

But the judges said the buyer of such acids should in future have to provide a photo identity card to any retailer when they make a purchase.

The retailers must register the name and address of the buyer.

Growing public anger at the levels of violence against women was fuelled last December by the horrifying gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi, prompting a toughening of laws on sexual violence.

Under Indian law, anyone found guilty of an acid attack that causes "grievous injury" faces a minimum 10 years behind bars and can be jailed for life in the most extreme cases.

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