- The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 has been introduced in the Parliament as a private member’s bill.
- Private members’ bills can be introduced by any member of Parliament who is not a minister but seldom get enacted.
About the Bill:
- The Bill proposes at least three years of imprisonment for a public servant who inflicts torture on anybody for a confession or even for information that may lead to the detection of an offence.
- The punishment could be extended to ten years.
- A public servant who intentionally does any act to cause grievous harm to somebody, even if in police custody, shall be punished.
- The proposed legislation fulfils India’s commitment, as confirmed to the United Nations, that “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” are prohibited and constitute serious violations of human rights.
- The 152nd report of the Law Commission on “Custodial Crimes” had also recommended changes to the law to make torture punishable.
- India is one of only eight countries out of 170 signatories to the United Nations convention against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment yet to ratify it.
UN convention against torture:
- India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997.
- But, it has still not ratified it.
- The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.
- The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.