Le­gal Ea­gle

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.

Alive - - Content - by By San­jeev Sirohi

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.

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