The Delhi High Court while denying bail to the Appellant-Appellant in an acid attack case has observed that such attacks often result in life-altering injuries, causing not only physical pain but also emotional scars that may never heal.

The Court further emphasized upon the severe and lasting consequences of acid attacks, which are among the most heinous crimes in contemporary society.

The Applicant/accused had allegedly thrown acid on the face of the victim in broad daylight.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma observed, “This Court notes that Acid attacks, characterized by their sheer brutality and devastating consequences, are among the most grievous crimes in contemporary society. These attacks often result in life-altering injuries, causing not only physical pain but also emotional scars that may never heal, like in the present case, wherein the victim suffered 41% disability in her right eye. Moreover, acid attacks send shockwaves through communities, spreading fear and anxiety. In this context, the Court's role in granting or denying bail is of vital significance”.

Advocate Nipun Katyal appeared for the Petitioner and Additional Public Prosecutor Manoj Pant appeared for the Respondents.

Dr. A, the victim, was attacked by two men on a motorcycle who snatched her bag and threw acid on her face. The victim sustained serious injuries to her face and eye due to the acid attack. The police were alerted to the incident by two PCR calls. An FIR was filed under Sections 326A, 392, 397, 411, 120B, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The Applicant approached the High Court by way of a Bail Application.

The Applicant contended that no motive could have been established against him because he was not the main conspirator. He claimed that he was only working as a compounder for another doctor, who was allegedly the victim's one-sided lover and had planned to take revenge on her. He also argued that the statutory punishment for such crimes is ten years and that he had been in custody for nine years.

The Court noted, “The present case narrates the unfortunate story of a qualified doctor aged about 30 years, working as a senior resident in a Government hospital in Delhi, who became a victim of acid attack in broad daylight in a thickly populated area of Delhi, pursuant to an alleged plan and conspiracy of the co-accused Dr. Ashok whose marriage proposal was rejected and his advances were repelled by the victim… He wanted to take revenge and the present accused/applicant, as per prosecution story and investigation, not only hired the juveniles in this case being known to him to carry out the heinous offence but also participated in the entire plan from the beginning. From the point of making the plan by co-accused Dr. Ashok, to the point of carrying out rehearsals by using water in syringes provided by the co-accused, to doing reki of the area and route which was taken by the victim, to identification of the victim by the juveniles, and the present accused throwing acid and procuring the same, coordinating between the juveniles and the co-accused, to disposing of the articles snatched from the victim by the co-accused(s), he has been a part of it all”.

The Court observed that the victim had suffered a 41% disability in her right eye with unquantifiable fear, anxiety, and psychological pain. She was also a hostage to an unseen psychological trauma that she experiences every day, the Court noted.

This Court remains acutely conscious of the far-reaching consequences of its decisions, particularly in cases involving heinous crimes such as acid attacks. These acts of violence not only inflict physical and psychological trauma on victims but also sow seeds of fear and insecurity in society. Hence, it is essential that the Court establishes a formidable deterrent against such offences”, the Court noted.

Furthermore, the Court expressed dissatisfaction that the trial had been pending for nine years. The Court directed the Trial Court to ensure that the case is taken up on a priority basis and concluded within four months. The Court further granted the Applicant the opportunity to apply for bail if the trial is not concluded within the stipulated time.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Application and denied bail to the Applicant.

Cause Title: Vaibhav Kumar v State NCT of Delhi & Anr.

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