Coming to the aid of acid attack survivors, the Supreme Court on Friday asked all private hospitals across the country to provide free treatment, including medicines and expensive reconstruction surgeries, to such victims.
A social justice bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit asked all state governments and Union Territories to “take up the matter with the private hospitals” to ensure that acid attack victims are attended to immediately and adequately.
The court also asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to take up the issue of free treatment with private hospitals.
Disposing of a 2006 PIL filed by acid attack survivor Laxmi, the court said the hospitals, where such victims are rushed after the incident, would have to provide a certificate /document stating that the person was an acid attack victim and the document would enable her or him to access free treatment, including surgeries, at a later stage.
On banning off-the-counter sale of acid across the country, it asked all states and UTs to notify acid as a “scheduled substance” to stop its unregulated sale.
The court also said its order should be sent to Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs, who in turn, would ensure that it reached District Magistrates for compliance and directed them to publicise it to ensure awareness among the people.
During the hearing, the bench, which had fixed Rs 3 lakh as minimum compensation in such cases, was informed by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, that the Victims Compensation Schemes have been put in place by almost all the state governments.
When the bench asked whether Andhra Pradesh or Telangana have not formulated the compensation scheme, lawyer Krishna Kumar Singh, appearing for the new state, said the needful has been done.
The bench, meanwhile, rejected the submission of senior advocate Colin Gonslaves that psychological counselling of victims be also provided free.