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Life term for Govt officials indulging in torture, recommends Law Commission

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On October 30, 2017, Law Commission of India has recommended that Indian Government should ratify a United Nations Convention against Torture in order to avoid difficulties in extradition of criminals from foreign countries.

UN Convention Against Torture:

United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) is an international treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in member countries.

  • This treaty came into force on June 26, 1987.
  • As per the terms of this treaty, signatory countries are required to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  • Moreover, the treaty also forbids signatory countries to transport people to any other country where they may be tortured.Life term for Govt officials indulging in torture, recommends Law Commission

Major Recommendations of Law Commission on UN Convention Against Torture:

Law Commission has stated that as India does not have a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities, quick extradition of criminals from foreign countries cannot be carried out. Most foreign countries follow specific laws which make ‘prevention of torture laws’ in the country seeking extradition as a pre-condition for extradition.

  • It has been recommended that, if Indian Government ratifies the UN Convention Against Torture, than a bill should be passed by the parliament to amend various laws to prevent torture by government officials.
  • Draft of the proposed Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017, prescribes stringent punishment to people inflicting torture so as to create a deterrent effect in discouraging such acts.
  • Law Commission has recommended that Government Officials convicted of torture should be sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • Section 375B of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, should be amended by including payment of compensation, in addition to the payment of fine provided in the Indian Penal Code.
  • A new section 114B should be inserted in Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which will ensure that in case a person in police custody sustains injuries, it is presumed that those injuries have been inflicted by the police.