- IntroducedLok SabhaApr 26, 2010Gray
- PassedLok SabhaMay 06, 2010Gray
- ReferredSelect Committee of Rajya SabhaAug 31, 2010Gray
- ReportSelect Committee of Rajya SabhaDec 06, 2010Gray
The Prevention of Torture Bill introduced by the Minister for Home Affairs makes torture a punishable offence. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that the Bill is being introduced to ratify the UN Convention against Torture of 1975. India is a signatory of the Convention but has not enacted a law on torture which would enable it to ratify the Convention. The Bill defines torture and prescribes conditions under which torture is punishable.
Highlights of the Bill
- The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 seeks to provide for punishment for torture committed by government officials.
- The Bill defines torture as “grievous hurt”, or danger to life, limb and health.
- Complaints against torture have to be made within six months. The sanction of the appropriate government is required before a court can entertain a complaint.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The definition of torture (a) is inconsistent with the definition of torture in the Convention against Torture, (b) requires the intention of the accused to be proved, (c) does not include mental pain or suffering, and (d) does not include some acts which may constitute torture.
- The Bill dilutes existing laws by imposing a time limit of six months and requiring prior government sanction for trying those accused of torture. Existing laws do not have such requirements.
- There is no independent authority to investigate complaints of torture, and no provision for granting compensation to torture victims has been made.