The Calcutta high court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre on a petition seeking Parliament’s approval of a UN covenant in order to facilitate the extradition of Kim Davy, a Purulia arms drop accused.
Justice PC Ghose and justice Soumen Sen directed the Centre to file within three weeks an affidavit stating what steps had been taken to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, 1984.
Ratification here means endorsement by the country’s highest law-making body, which is Parliament in India’s case.
The Danish high court had on June 30 refused to approve the extradition of Davy on the grounds that India had not ratified the convention. It felt there was a danger that he would be tortured in jail if he was handed over to India for his and his two Danish associates’ prosecution in the Purulia arms drop incident, which took place on December 17, 1995.
“Although India had also signed the UN treaty in October 1997, no steps had been taken for its ratification,” the public interest petition said.
Peter Bleach, a British citizen and co-accused who spent eight years in jail at Kolkata before he was released on presidential remission in 2004, welcomed the high court order.
“The ratification of the UN Convention against Torture would make a difference. The fact that it was not ratified was the very thing that led the Danish judges to place little or no value on the assurances that Denmark had received from India,” said Bleach on e-mail.
The UN convention has been ratified by almost all the democracies including the US and the UK, and even Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan.