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Notices Issued Against Online Sale of Acid in India!

The body has issued show cause notices to two e-commerce websites for serious offences involving the sale of acid on their online portals

Ayushi Sikarwar
Acid in Transparent Bottles (Representational Image)

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has acted strongly with regard to infringement of consumer rights. In view of rising criminal acts in various cities, the body took stringent action to safeguard consumer interests.

For gross violations related to the sale of acid recorded on their platforms, the CCPA has served notices to two e-commerce websites - Flipkart Internet Private Limited and Fashnear Technologies Private Limited (meesho.com). These organizations have been told to provide detailed responses within a week.

The selling of extremely corrosive chemicals on these e-commerce platforms has come to the attention of CCPA, the watchdog organization for consumer interests in the country.

It has raised questions about how easily and unrestrictedly these acids are made available on these e-platforms. For consumers and the general public, having harmful acids so easily accessible can be dangerous and unsafe.

Along with the responses, CCPA has further asked the sites to submit the necessary supporting documents within 7 days addressing the concern of such availability of acids on their portal, in light of a recent unfortunate incident involving an acid attack on a minor schoolgirl in Delhi, where media reports have highlighted that the alleged offenders had purchased the said acid from Flipkart.

It should be noted that on August 30, 2013, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, issued an advisory on 'Measures to be taken to prevent acid attacks on people and for treatment and rehabilitation of survivors', which furthered the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of Laxmi v. Union of India & Ors [(2014) 4 SCC 427]. All the states and UTs were advised to take immediate steps to implement the measures mentioned therein for reduction.

A number of states and UTs have already released regulations governing the sale of acids. These e-commerce platforms have been required to present the checks and compliances they undertook in this regard because they operate and transport their products across the entire country.

Meesho was discovered to be selling such acids in violation of the recommendations made by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Apex Court by the CCPA, which was conducting a suo moto investigation into the online sale of corrosive acids.

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