The government will bring an anti-torture law to ratify a UN Convention against torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment.
"The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to introduce the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 in the Parliament," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here.
This is a step towards ratification of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Punishment adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1975. India had signed the Convention in October, 1997.
"After a lot of deliberation on the issue, it was decided to bring a piece of 'stand alone' legislation so that the Convention could be ratified. Accordingly, a draft Bill, namely the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2009 was drafted," Soni said.
Ratification of the Convention requires enabling legislation having provisions that would be necessary to give effect to the Articles of the Convention. Although some provisions exist in the Indian Penal Code, they neither define "torture" as clearly as in Article 1 of the Convention nor make it criminal as called for by Article 4.
For ratification of the Convention, therefore, the domestic laws of the country would require to be brought in tune with the provisions of the Convention. This would necessitate either amendment of the existing laws such as IPC or bringing in a new piece of legislation.
The matter was examined at length in consultation with the Law Commission of India and the then Attorney General of India.
"As the matter is in the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the views of the state governments were sought. The views of the concerned Central Ministries were also obtained," Soni said.