Nepal | October 21, 2020

President issues ordinances on acid attack punishment, acid sale regulation

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President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today issued two ordinances to increase jail sentence for acid attackers and to regulate the sale and distribution of acid and other harmful chemicals.

One of the ordinances amended the new penal code, proposing to increase jail term for acid attackers to 20 years and fine up to Rs 1,000,000.

Under the existing law, perpetrators of acid attack face a maximum jail term of eight years.

The ordinance states that if a person attacks another person with harmful chemicals or acid and if the victim suffers damage to eyes, ears, nose, face, breasts (in case of a woman/girl) or private parts, then the attacker(s) shall be awarded a jail term of 20 years and a fine of Rs 1,000,000.

If the acid attack causes blindness in one eye or deafness in one ear, partial damage to the face, damage to one breast of a woman victim, damage to a part of the head or if the victim suffers damage to his/her back, limbs, then the attacker(s) shall face a jail term between 15 years and 20 years and a fine between Rs 700,000 and 1,000,000.

For other types of injuries caused by an acid attack, the new law proposes a jail term of seven to 10 years and a fine of Rs 500,000 to Rs 700,000.

According to the draft ordinance, if a person attempts to attack a victim with acid or harmful chemicals and the victim escapes without injury, then the attacker will face a jail term between five years and seven years and a fine between Rs 100,000 and Rs 300,000.

The fine amount will be given to the victim as compensation.

The new law also stipulates that victims of acid attack will receive reasonable compensation depending on the injuries they suffer.

The president also issued an ordinance to regulate the sale and distribution of acid and other harmful chemicals. The ordinance stipulates that acid and other harmful chemicals can be sold only after duly obtaining licence for the same.

It adds that the government may issue licence to only industries to purchase specific type of chemicals that they need. Sellers will have to keep a record of the amount of acid and other harmful chemicals they have sold to customers and the amount they have in their shops.

Acid and harmful chemicals cannot be sold or distributed to people below the age of 18. Only industries, laboratories, academic institutions and jewellery shops can purchase acid and other harmful chemicals.

Shops will have to keep details of persons who purchase acid and other harmful chemicals from them, including names of buyers, their parents’ name, addresses and contact telephone numbers of buyers.

A source at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs said the ministry was still in the process of finalising the content of the two ordinances.

The source added there might be some changes in the final draft of the ordinances.

The president also issued another ordinance to amend provisions of Operation, Supervision and Coordination between Nepal Police and Provincial Police Act.

Feature Image: File

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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