Human Rights

Anti-torture Bill introduced in LS

New Delhi: A Bill that seeks punishment for torture inflicted by public servants or torture inflicted by someone with the consent of public servants was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 26 April. It was introduced by the minister of state for home, Mr Mullappally Ramachandran, deputising for his senior, Mr P Chidambaram.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 said: “The proposed legislation, inter alia, defines the expression ‘torture’, provides for punishment to those involved in the incidents of torture and specifies the time limit for taking cognizance of the offence.”

An amendment of the existing laws such as Indian Penal Code (IPC) or bringing in a new legislation was necessary for India to ratify the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December, 1975, the statement said.

“Ratification of the Convention requires enabling legislation to reflect the definition and punishment for ‘torture’. Although some provisions relating to the matter are existing in the IPC, yet they neither define ‘torture’ as clearly as in Article 1 of the Convention nor make it a criminal offence as called for by Article 4 of the Convention,” the statement said. The issue of torture was examined “at length in consultation with the Law Commission of India and the Attorney General of India,” it said addig that “After considerable deliberations on the issue, it was decided to bring in a standalone legislation so that the Convention can be ratified,” the statement said.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2010 on page no. 11

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