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January 15, 2021

SHC approached for proper regulation of sale and purchase of acid

Karachi

January 15, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued notices to the Sindh advocate general and others on a petition seeking proper regulation against widespread unregistered sale of acid to prevent acid attacks in the country.

The petitioner, a non-government organisation, through its representative Musarrat Misbah had approached the high court against the government failure to set up a framework to regulate the sale and purchase of acid.

The petitioner submitted that such open and widespread sale of corrosive substance in effect facilitated the commission of heinous crime of acid throwing, which constituted a clear violation of fundamental right to life guaranteed under the constitution.

Misbah submitted that the Supreme Court had also observed in its suo motu notice with regard to acid throwing cases that restrictions must be imposed upon the acid sellers who, though running this businesses under a licence, were not following its terms and conditions.

She submitted that the sale and purchase of acid had no exclusive legal framework as the existing 2011 law did not address the issue of easy availability of acid in the market and did not regulate the sale and purchase of acid.

She informed the SHC that since the acid was regulated under the 1919 Act, it empowered the government to regulate the possession and sale of poisons, including acids.

She submitted that the existing laws had several loopholes and was not being effectively implemented, as a result of which acid was easily available and that was the prime

reason for its use in acid attacks.

The petitioner submitted that the perpetrators of acid attacks used different kinds of acids, which the sale of which were completely unregulated and one could buy any quantity of them without providing any documentation.

The high court was requested to declare the widespread sale of unregulated acid as violation of the right of life and direct the government to frame rules to regulate uncontrolled production, import, export and transportation of acid.

The petitioner also sought action against unregulated sale and purchase of acid and a direction to ensure that acid sold in retail was of mild potency and did not have a corroding effect on human beings.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, after the preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the Sindh advocate general and others and called their comments.