The present criminal system of India was not a sudden creation. It has been evolved as a slow and gradual procession bears the imprint of the different period of Indian History. As the criminal system in India has evolved gradually, so has the rate and nature of crime grown in our country.
One such kind of crime is the usage of acid for disfiguring the body of the victim and scaring him/her for life. The acid attack is not a crime that is gender sensitive but mostly it is used against the women in countries like India , Bangladesh, Afghanistan making it to be gender discriminative in nature. In South Asia, disputes over land, inheritances, dowries, and declined marriage proposals often arouse jealousy, which lead to acid violence and women becomes the first victim of it. Acid attacks are intensely inhuman crimes because the perpetrators plan to disfigure the victims rather than kill them. Acid is also easily available and cheap, which is thrown at women.Acid attacks have been documented in many parts of the world, but the number of such incidences is on the rise in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Cambodia.
With reference to the Indian subcontinent, statistics reveal that Bangladesh has the highest number of acid attacks reported annually between 1999 and 2010; there were about 2500 reported cases of acid attacks in the country. The peculiar feature of these attacks is a staggering 80% of the reported cases in the subcontinent involve women as victims, and close to 70% of these are under 18 years of age. The New York Times on 26 December 2001 also reported that kerosene as well as acid have fast become the weapons of choice for attacks on wives in India. Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind.
The act rarely kills but causes severe physical, psychological and social scarring, and victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves. Acid violence is a world- wide phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location The 226th Law Commission of India report and also the Justice Verma Committee Report mentions that acid attacks have a gender dimension in India. Many of the observed and reported acid attacks have been found among young women1. The aim of most acid attacks reported is to disfigure and not to kill (Laura, 2013).
In many developing countries the acid weapon can easily be purchased as it is a cleaning agent. In India, the first acid attack occurred in the year 19822. Recently many countries have stressed for more legislations to address the acid attack incidents. This area is still unexplored by researchers and there are many concerns regarding the same.
There a number of reasons for the rise of acid attacks in India.The article will examine the impact of acid attacks, both physical as well as psychological, the insufficiency of the law in dealing with acid attacks, the heinous character of this particular crime and what punishment it should deserve, and the measures that can be taken to strengthen the law to deal with these attacks. Examining and attempting to deal with these matters hold the key to better understanding acid attacks, and inching closer to the measures which can be taken to curb them.