'No time-frame for tabling torture bill'

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday could not give a deadline as to when the bill relating to prevention of torture could be passed in the Rajya Sabha.

The Prevention of Torture Bill 2010, passed in the Lok Sabha, remained pending even after being referred to the 13-member select committee headed by Rajya Sabha MP E M Sudarsana Natchiappan.

“The matter with regard to the bill concerned the Home Ministry. I need to talk to the Home Minister,” Khurshid said, expressing his “unqualified” and “total” commitment towards elimination of all sorts of torture in conformity with the international instruments including the Universal declaration of human rights as well as the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment.

The minister was speaking at a programme here held to mark the United Nations International Day in support of victims of Torture.To a specific query as to when the Bill could become the law, Khurshid failed to give the exact time frame.

Chairman, National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah favoured changes in the statutes to bring about police reforms. It is illegal to detain people without charges and subject them to torture. 

We have to work towards police reforms. There is a change in the attitude in the police but the structure is still the same,” he said.

Habibullah referred to Meerut’s Hashmipura massacre case of 1987 where policemen, accused of killing innocent people were still not brought to justice as the trial was pending. 

He also pointed out how innocent people were picked up in Mecca-Masjit blasts case of Hyderabad and tortured to extract their confessions.

Former Delhi High Court chief justice A P Shah said that the existing laws were not enough to control torture. 

He said that India was yet to ratify the United Nation convention against torture. Justice Shah referred to the instance of Purulia Arms drop case accused Kim Davy whose extradition to India was denied by the Danish court last year on the  grounds that India had not ratified the United Nation convention against torture.

Comments (+)