Acid attack case: Madras HC rejects accused's contention

By PTI Published on Aug 01, 2018 02:07 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court declined to accept the arguments of an accused in a case of acid attack on a woman that her injuries were simple in nature and hence would not attract penal provisions of IPC section 326.

Justice RMT Teekaa Raman partly allowed the appeal against a lower court order, modifying the sentence awarded under Indian Penal Code section 326 A (punishment for acid throwing) of 10 years to that of seven years under section 326 B (punishment for attempted acid throwing).

The court rejected the contention of the counsel for the accused that penal provisions under IPC sections 326 A and B would not be attracted in the absence of any permanent disfigurement.

It said criminal amendment Act, 326(A) and (B) came into force with effect from February 3, 2013, following the recommendations made by the Verma Committee to curb rampant acid attacks on women.

"Taking into consideration the entirety of the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the considered view that the act of the accused in throwing the substance of liquid with the percentage and the consequent injury on the body of the victim, the case in hand will squarely fall under section 326(B) IPC and not under section 326(A)," the judge said.

The order is said to be the first such following recommendations of the Verma Committee on acid attack. The matter relates to an appeal filed by M Siluvai Murugan of Coimbatore seeking to set aside the order of Additional Assistant Sessions Court sentencing him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 10,000 for throwing acid on the woman in 2014.

According to the prosecution, the accused threw acid at the woman for not talking to him, and she suffered simple injuries on her right face, right forehand, left thigh, right forehead and left chest, leading to a permanent scar.

"In order to attract the penal provisions of above two sections, the use of the weapon for crime should be 'acid,' and as a result of which the victim should have suffered either permanent or partial damage or any deferment or burns or maims or disfigurement. So, if it is established by the prosecution, then the above two Sections 326(A) or 326(B) IPC will come into play, de hors (other than) whether the injury is simple or grievous as defined under Section 320 IPC," the judge said.

The recommendations of the Justice A S Verma Committee were incorporated in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, which came into force from April 3, 2013, bringing several changes in sexual offence laws including a new section of 376A to Indian Penal Code, the judge said.

The Act also incorporated new offences like acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking into the IPC. The December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape, which caused nationwide outrage, had led to the setting up of the commission led by former Chief Justice of India J S Verma to consider changes in law to deal more sternly with offenders in sexual offence cases.