Jharkhand High Court delivers a landmark judgement in acid attack case

Sonali Mukherjee, a resident of village Bhelatand, Dhanbad, Jharkhand, was thrown acid at by three men who used to stalk and disturb her. In that attack not only Sonali but her sister also got injured in 2003. Due to the acid attack, Sonali lost complete eyesight, there was 70% deep acid burn injury on the face, hair, neck, chest, breast, back, nose, lips & some parts of the body. Her right ear was totally damaged.

She then, filed a writ petition with the help of Adv. Shadab Ansari seeking intervention in the Jharkhand High Court in this matter and for payment of compensation. Jharkhand High Court passed a landmark judgement where not only did she received the compensation after fifteen years but ordered the state to abide by certain decisions taken like -

  • The State/UTs will take a serious note of the directions of the Supreme court with regard to treatment and payment of compensation to acid attack victims and to implement these directions through the issue of requisite orders/notifications.
  • The private hospitals will also be brought on board for compliance and the State/UTs will use necessary means in this regard.
  • No hospital/clinic should refuse treatment citing a lack of specialized facilities.
  • First-aid must be administered to the victim and after stabilization, the victim/patient could be shifted to a specialized facility for further treatment, wherever required.
  • Action may be taken against hospital/clinic for refusal to treat victims of acid attacks and other crimes in contravention of the provisions of Section 357C of the Code of Criminal The procedure, 1973. We accept the authorities to comply with these decisions.”

In pursuance to the aforesaid decision, the Hon'ble Apex Court issued direction that the State Governments/Union Territories should seriously discuss and take up the matter with all the private hospitals in their respective State/Union Territory to the effect that the private hospitals should not refuse treatment to victims of acid attack and that full treatment should be provided to such victims including medicines, food, bedding and reconstructive surgeries. The Chief Secretary has also been directed to ensure that the order is sent to all the District Magistrates and due publicity is given to the order of this Court.