The Sindh Cabinet has approved the Sindh Regulation for Storage, Sale and Purchase of Acid Rules, 2022.
The unregulated sale of a corrosive substance, such as acid, were highlighted by the Depilex Smileagain Foundation by filing a Constitutional Petition before the High Court of Sindh, through its counsel Mr. Rashid Mahar, Barrister Vishal Shamsi and Ms. Anushka Khan.
Depilex Smileagain Foundation is an organization formed by Ms. Masarrat Misbah, a distinguished cosmetologist and philanthropist of Pakistan who is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance.
Depilex Smileagain Foundation has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation for over 760 acid and kerosene burn victims.
Depilex Smileagain Foundation brought to the attention of a division bench of the High Court of Sindh comprising of the Honorable Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh and Mr. Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, who sought reports from the Secretary to the Government of Sindh on any existing rules in relation to the sale, storage and purchase of acid.
The Government of Sindh, convened a consultative meeting with a number of departments for determining if the rules on sale, storage, and purchase of acid existed, and it transpired that the rules under the Poisons Act, 1919 have not yet been framed.
The Home Department, therefore, formulated rules regarding the sale, storage and purchase of acid, which were subsequently approved by the Law Department.
The Rules were approved by the Honorable Chief Minister of Sindh and were placed before the Provincial Cabinet for approval.
The Provincial Cabinet approved the rules that will regulate and prevent the widespread accessibility of acid. The Rules will prove to be a first line of defense to combat acid related crimes.
The Poisons Act, 1919, was designed to prevent the crime of throwing acid on people, by regulation of the sale of acid.
The Rules provide a license requirement for specified persons to sell, store or purchase acid, and makes it mandatory for the license holder to maintain a register recording: (i) date of sale, (ii) the name and address of the purchaser along with a copy of his CNIC, (iii) the name and quantity of acid sold, (iv) the purpose of the purchase, and (v) the signature of the purchaser.
Previously, no legislation existed in relation to regulating the sale and purchase of acid, and the corrosive substance was available on a widespread basis without any such regulation or control.