Moving forward the legislative process of Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar has submitted the notice for the said amendment in the Senate.
After review by the Law Committee, the bill reached Senate on October 15. The civil society feared that if not taken up in the Senate in time, the Bill will meet the same fate as was met by the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill (DVB). The DVB was passed unanimously by the National Assembly in August 2009, but lapsed after the Senate failed to pass it within the three months stipulated by the constitution.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill, introduced last year by MNAs Marvi Memon, Begum Shahnaz Sheikh and Advocate Anushay Rehman, was passed by the National Assembly on May 10 this year. Following that, the Bill was moved to the Law Committee.
The amendment bill was introduced in the assembly in a bid to prevent growing incidents of violence against women. The statement of objectives and reasons of the bill, mentions that the crime of throwing acid on women is becoming more and more common and recurring day by day. It says that the main cause of it is the absence of proper legislation on this subject.
“Therefore the criminal minded people are constantly using it as a dangerous and devastating arm against women. In view of these circumstances, there is an increasing need to make comprehensive legislation in this regard,” the draft states.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill is an amendment in Pakistan Penal Code 1860. It increases the punishment of offenders up to life imprisonment and makes it mandatory for the offender to pay a fine of Rs1 million to the victim.
The amendment in Section 336-B states, “Whoever causes hurt by corrosive substance shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than fourteen years and a minimum fine of one million rupees.” The new insertion in Section 336-A states, “Whosoever with intention or knowingly causes or attempts to cause hurt by means of a corrosive substance or any substance which is deleterious to human body when it is swallowed, inhaled, come in contact or received into human body or otherwise shall be said to cause hurt by corrosive substance.”
Talking to ‘The News’, Senator Nilofar Bakhtair stressed that a system is required to stop such heinous crimes in the country. “As a first step, the proposed bill will bring required change in the definitions of PPC. The next step will be to introduce a comprehensive legislation as instructed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.” The senator said that certain mindset could oppose the bill in the Senate but she was hopeful that the Bill will be passed as it benefits both men and women. “More than 50 per cent of the victims of acid crime are men and children,” she said.