Delhi High Court grants Rs 5 lakh compensation each to two acid attack survivors, acquits attackers

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to provide Rs 5 lakh compensation each to two girls, who lost their vision permanently and suffered disfigurement in 2009, after two accused threw acid on them.

However, the Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna upheld the acquittal of the accused men on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The bench said even if the identity of the assailant of the crime of throwing acid upon the appellants-victims has not been established, still this Court cannot ignore the fact that the victims have suffered grave injuries, scars of which shall remain with them for life.

It further directed the DSLSA to present proposals or opportunities for the employment of the two acid attack survivors in any department of the Delhi Government to facilitate their rehabilitation.

The DSLSA was also asked to facilitate a medical exam of the survivors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to explore what medical treatments may be required by them in the future.

The Bench noted that the two survivors had suffered immensely as a result of the acid attack, not only losing vision entirely in both their eyes but also experiencing disfigurement and disability, which rendered them dependent on others for life.

It said the victims lost all prospects of a career, marriage, and leading a normal life. In the present case., the victims have gone through not only physical but also mental agony.

There was no doubt that the present case was yet another horrid illustration of how girls of young age have suffered abuse of acid attacks for reasons whatsoever, which has left them not only physically impaired for a lifetime, but the scars of physical and emotional trauma will last in their minds and hearts during their whole life, it added.

The incident took place when the two women were on their way back from work. Two men were accused of throwing acid at them. Both men were acquitted by the trial court in 2012.

The acquittal was challenged before the High Court by the State and the two women.

The High Court said the witnesses lacked credibility. Moreover, the manner in which the investigation of the case was conducted undermined the prosecution’s arguments, the Court observed.

It said the trial court has rightly observed that in the month of October at about 07:00 pm, with no street lights on the road, it was actually difficult for the victims to identify the accused persons which was established.

However, the Court decided to extend other forms of relief to the acid attack survivors such as compensation and the examination of employment opportunities and courses of future medical treatment.

The High Court listed the matter again on May 6 to further hear the matter on these aspects.

The accused were represented by Advocates Manish Kumar Singh, Nusrat Hossain, Tanya Nayyar, D Pal Singh, Shahbaz Singh, Anuj Kapoor and Anesh Dahiya.

Additional Public Prosecutor Tarang Srivastava represented the State.

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