Human Rights Law Network


High Court at Calcutta orders Chief Secretary of West Bengal to provide compensation of 3 lakhs to acid attack victim: Sabana Khatun, and finds Government position unacceptable

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17 March 2014, NEW DELHI – (PRESS RELEASE)

Broadly, This case establishes that compensation must be paid of Rs. 3 Lakhs to acid attack victims after a victim reports to the Chief Secretary. The Court held the compensation of acid attack victims does not depend on referrals made by Court of Compensation or Legal Service. Because the Government of Calcutta had failed to implement these follow the guidelines provided by the Laxmi vs. Union of India and Ors., Sabana Khatun had to live without any medical help and treatment despite her severe injuries for more than two years. Khatun was forced to drink acid by her former boyfriend’s relatives, the Mondals on June 2012. After Khatun became unconscious, Mondals stripped her of her clothes and poured acid and left her for dead at the hospital.

To help Khatun, former intern of HRLN, Pious Ahuja led a fact-finding trip to Kolkata to investigate the conditions surrounding Sabana Kahtun’s attack along with Caroline Pierrey, another HRLN intern, Laxmi, and HRLN advocate, Nivedita Guhathakurta. During the investigation, Ahuja found that the perpetrators of the acid attack were not arrested and were still threatening Khatun’s family with further threats. Following the fact-finding HLRN lawyers became involved in Khatun’s case to expedite her compensation claim.

Succeeding the fact-finding, Ahuja used crowd-funding and raised $1700 to help Sabana with her medical needs. Additionally, to raise public awareness in the Washington community about acid attacks, Ahuja held a panel to discuss the prevalence of acid attacks.The original Writ Petition,Laxmi vs Union of India & Ors. (W.P. (Crl.) 129 of 2006), details the amount of compensation provided to acid attacks as Rs. 3 lakhs. Laxmi was fifteen-year-old girl attacked by acid. In Laxmi, the Court directed the states to enact appropriate provision for effective regulation of acid in the state/union territories, measure for the proper treatment, after care and rehabilitation of the survivors of the acid and needs of acid attack survivors and compensation payable to acid survivors by the State. With this Court order and the $1700 raised by Ahuja, Sabana is receiving a plastic surgery for the injuries sustained during her attack after two years of her attack.

HRLN will continue to fight in its battle to get justice for Sabana.

For more information, please contact:
Sarita Barpanda, sarita@hrln.org

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Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.

HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.