Govt officials indulging in torture may be jailed for life: Law Comm

RSTV Bureau

Law-gen

The law commission has recommended life term in jail for public servants convicted of torture, including custodial toruture. The law panel also said that the government should ratify a UN convention to facilitate extraditing of criminals from foreign countries, which sometimes get difficult due to the absence of a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities.

The commission is view that a bill should be introduced in Parliament to amend various laws to prevent torture by government officials.

The draft ‘Prevention of torture bill, 2017′ proposed “stringent punishment” to perpetrators to curb the menace of torture and to have a deterrent effect on acts of torture. The punishment could extend up to life imprisonment and include a fine.

The report submitted to the law ministry said the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, require amendments to accommodate provisions regarding compensation and burden of proof.

In addition to the payment of fine as provided in the Indian Penal Code, the panel report also recommended an amendment to section 357B to incorporate payment of compensation.

The report, now in the public domain, said the Indian Evidence Act required the insertion of a new section 114B.

“This will ensure that in case a person in police custody sustains injuries, it is presumed that those injuries have been inflicted by the police, and the burden of proof shall lie on the authority concerned to explain such injury,” it said.

“The courts will bear in mind the socio-economic background of the victim” and ensure that the compensation will help the victim bear the expenses on medical treatment and rehabilitation, the panel recommended.

The report also said an effective mechanism must be put in place to protect victims of torture, complainants and witnesses against possible threats, violence or ill treatment.

The Centre had asked the panel to examine the issue of ratifying the convention after a writ petition was filed in a court this year in July.

(With inputs from the PTI)