The Delhi High Court Thursday termed acid attacks as one of the most “horrifying forms of gender-based violence”, and upheld the life sentence awarded to man for killing his wife by throwing acid on her.
A division bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Indermeet Kaur said acid attack was a “growing phenomenon” in India and committed on women, particularly young women by some men, as their ego did not allow them to accept rejection. “One of the most horrifying forms of gender-based violence, a growing phenomenon in India, is acid attack. Though acid attack is a crime which can be committed against any man or woman, it has a specific gender dimension in India. Most of the reported acid attacks have been committed on women, particularly young women, for spurning suitors, for rejecting proposals of marriage, for denying dowry etc.,” the bench said in a recent judgment.
The court added: “The acid is used with malicious intent to take revenge, disfigure and harm the person. Some men’s ego will not allow them to accept rejection and when their advances are spurned they retaliate by throwing acid at the woman.”
Upholding the life term awarded to Mahender for killing his wife, the bench said: “This case also relates to one such unfortunate woman who became the victim of such horrifying act at the hands of, none else than her own husband, who could not bear her rejection.”
As per the prosecution, Feb 29, 2008, Mahender had poured acid on his 24-year-old wife, who also had a boy child of six years from her first marriage. The accused (Mahender, the victim’s second husband) threw acid on his wife after she decided to divorce him, as he used to harass her. In her dying declaration, the victim said the accused used to threaten her even to the extent of physically eliminating her if she dared to divorce him.
The court said an acid attack was a “terrifying experience” and the accused does not warrant any leniency for such act. “An acid attack is a terrifying experience. Acid melts human flesh and even bones. It causes excruciating pain and terror. The victims are left mutilated and scarred for the rest of their lives. Some suffer permanent disabilities such as blindness and some victims even die as a result of their injuries. The attacks are made possible by the easy availability of cheap acids…,” the bench added.
The court relied upon the dying declaration of the victim and dismissed the plea of accused who contended that he was falsely implicated in the case and was not even married to the victim.