The major rulings by the Supreme Court and High Courts of India in the last one month and the developments and changes in the legal arena impacting the society in general as well as every citizen of India.
Life-term to Govt Official for torture
The Law Commission of India comes with an excellent report recommending “Implementation of United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment through Legislation”. Recommending life in jail for public servants convicted of torture, the Law Commission on October 30, 2017 said unambiguously that the Government should ratify a UN Convention to tide over difficulties in extraditing criminals from foreign countries due to the absence of a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities. It also said that in case the Government decided to ratify the UN convention on torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, a Bill should be introduced in Parliament to amend various laws to prevent torture by Government officials.
To be sure, India signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [adopted by General Assembly of the UN on 10th December, 1984 (Resolution No. 39/460)] (known as the UN Convention against Torture, in short “CAT”) on October 14, 1997 however, so far it has not been ratified. India has expressed its reservations against certain provisions contained in the Convention, such as Inquiry by the CAT (Art. 20); State complaints (Art. 21) and individual complaints (Art. 22). Still India cannot backtrack from its unswerving commitment to ensure that those government officials who are guilty of perpetrating torture are most strictly punished in accordance with the due procedure of law.
As things stand, the International Commission of Jurists, and other organisations have urged India to adopt the reforms suggested by the Convention. The Universal Periodic Review is an interactive process carried out after every four years. Under this framework, the Human Rights Record of UN member States is reviewed. India has also been requested to ratify the Torture Convention by some State parties during the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights. The Working Group on Human Rights in India has called for intervention by the Government against torture. All this has been even noted and cited by the Law Commission in its 273rd report.