After a spate of acid attacks in the state, the government has invited suggestions and objections to the draft of rules meant to regulate the sale of acid, under the Poisons Act, 1919. The state’s move comes in response to a Supreme Court directive issued in December last year.
Shops like this one will no longer be able to sell acid, unless it is manned by a qualified person holding a degree in chemistry or a diploma in chemical technology from a recognised institution. File pic
While the Supreme Court had directed the state to invite the suggestions within three months – by March 31 – the government has only recently done so, three-and-a-half months late.
The state intends to rope in the city’s police commissioner as the licensing authority that will regulate the sale and storage of the acid, which will now be included in the category of poisons. While the police commissioner will be the authority in the city, district collectors will be given the same task in other parts of the state.
Once acid is brought under the purview of the Poisons Act, only a qualified person, holding a degree in chemistry or a diploma in chemical technology from a recognised institution, will be allowed to sell acid. The licence holder will not sell any acid unless the buyer is personally known to him, or identified to his satisfaction by producing a photo identity card which has his address.
The licensee will maintain records of sale with all the details of the buyer, including his or her name, address, the quantity sold, date of sale, purpose for which the poison was said to be purchased, as well as his or her signature or thumb impression. The licensee will not sell any poison to a person who appears to him to be under the age of 18 years.
The government has categorised 18 types of acids as poison, along with the percentages of concentration. “Liquids sold as toilet and floor cleaners will not come under the definition of poison,” said a senior official from the state Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
Acids that are labelled poisons will now be sold in closed receptacles or packets, which will come with a label bearing the name of the chemical in English as well as the local language, along with the number and date of the entry in the register of sales.
Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, the secretary for medical education in the state, said that once the rules are notified, acid will be placed in a higher regulation zone for trade.