Khurshid for videography of proceedings at police stations

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid today suggested that all proceedings at police stations across the country should be videographed as the measure would discourage custodial torture.

"I think in modern times and availability of modern technology...unfortunately even courts are not ready to record their proceedings...there should be videographing and recording of proceedings that take place in our police stations so that there is completely safe evidence available," Khurshid said.

"I am sure people will say it is expensive, maintenance will be a problem, police stations are in distant places etcetera. I think these are all issues we can find answers to," he said.

The Law Minister was speaking at an interaction organised by the European Union on the occasion of International Day in support of victims of torture.

He said that the vicious cycle of torture which leads to more delinquents and then more torture should be broken. He, however, added there were bound to different opinions.

"Let me be a bit honest and frank, If I was to say this to some police officers they would tell me that you go and sleep in those areas and then tell us. There are two points of view but I think these points of view we have to overcome and come up with a different answer," Khurshid said.

Among those who were present included former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah, who asked the Union minister when the Government planned to bring the Prevention of Torture Bill to the Rajya Sabha.

"I feel that it is high time that this should be debated in the Parliament and the Bill should come as early as possible. I put it that the honourable Law minister shed some light on where the Bill is lying now," Justice Shah said.

Khurshid, in his reply, said though the government was committed to passing the Bill, he was not aware of the details as to when it would be brought to Parliament.

"I cannot but agree with the things you said, I wish I knew where the Bill was lying and which desk at Home ministry it is. I assure you that the fire has not damaged it," Khurshid said.

"What you have done today is reminded us that there is urgency and that urgency must be felt in scheduling of the discussion in passing the Bill in the Upper House. I will certainly take your concern to the Home minister and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs," he further said replying to Shah.
He said that while the Prevention of Torture Bill was a very important, there were other bills like the Communal Violence Bill that the government was working on.

Speaking further about the legislative process in the country, Khurshid said in the law relating to Lokpal some people had concerns related to federalism. He also said though he felt that death penalty should be abolished there was not a unanimous view.

Earlier speaking to the same gathering National Commission for Minorities Chairman Wajahat Habibullah expressed his concern over incidents which suggested that law could be violated by the police themselves with impunity.

Habibullah said some policemen accused in Hashimpura killings got promotion and added that steps had also not been taken to implement the suggestion of the Ravichandran Commission which had looked into faulty police investigations into the Hyderabad blasts.

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