India signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment on October 14, 1997, however, so far it has not seen the light of ratification. The Central Government on 8th July, 2017 asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of ratification of UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Commission has suggested that definition of ‘torture’ should be wide enough to include inflicting injury, either intentionally or involuntarily, or even an attempt to cause such an injury, which will include physical, mental or psychological injury.
It suggested that, in order to get criminals extradited, in the absence of an anti-torture law; and to secure an individual’s right to life and liberty, the govt. should consider the rectification of it. It recommended stringent punishment to the perpetrators of such acts (torture). The Commission recommends an effective mechanism in order to protect the victims of torture, the complainants and the witnesses against possible threats, violence or ill treatment. It also stated that, the State should own the responsibility for the injuries caused by its agents on citizens, and principle of sovereign immunity cannot override the rights assured by the Constitution.
It also suggested following Amendments in laws
Criminal Procedure code, 1973
The Commission recommends amendment to section 357B to incorporate payment of compensation, in addition to payment of fine, as 70 provided under section 326A or section 376D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Indian Evidence Act, 1872
The commission suggested the insertion of section 114B, which 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
The report stated that, the Central Government may take a decision on the issue of ratification of the Convention, and in case it is decided to go for ratification, then, the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 may be considered.