Human Rights

Policemen guilty of torture will be jailed

After the Supreme Court’s decree that violence in any form in judicial custody will not be tolerated the government is in the process of formulating ‘Prevention of Torture’ Bill (POTB). When POTB becomes a law then torture of any kind, physical or mental will be considered illegal. As per the law anyone subjected to torture will be compensated and the guilty cops will be jailed. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha for the first time on 26 April and there after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6 May but the bill was not referred to a Standing Committee of Parliament. Under this law policemen found guilty can face, a maximum of 10 years imprisonment including fine. The main features of the Bill are: 1. Words, action or behaviour that offends anyone of any specific communities can be termed as torture. 2. The government while preparing the Draft of the torture bill has also considered the sensitivities of people of different communities in terms of their language, religion and their likes and dislikes. 3. The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 seeks to provide for punishment for torture committed by government officials.  4. The Bill defines torture as grievous hurt, or danger to life, limb and health. 5. Complaints against torture have to be made within six months. The sanction of the appropriate government is required before a court can entertain a complaint. 6. It defines ‘torture’ and seeks to punish torture inflicted by public servants or with their consent. 7. It lays down conditions under which courts can admit complaints for acts which are offences under the Bill.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2011 on page no. 11

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