Thursday, July 12, 2012

NHRC pitches for passage of prevention of torture bill The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday made a strong pitch for immediate passage of Prevention of Torture Bill in Parliament, saying it is urgent to ensure that extracting information through torture is declared illegal. Addressing a conference here, NHRC Chairperson KG Balakrishnan said Parliament needs to pass the Bill urgently so that the culture of extracting information through torture is made illegal and the guilty are punished by law.
"Torture is a serious problem for India. Basic human rights are violated when torture is inflicted. It is not just physical pain, but mental which traumatises the individual and is an assault on his right to life," he said. India has also not ratified the UN convention against torture which asks states to declare torturing a criminal offence under its jurisdiction, he noted. "Stringent punishment for perpetrators of torture and adequate compensation for the victim must be done to check this growing culture of impunity," Sankar Sen, former Director General of NHRC, said. The need to give proper training to the police and sensitizing them about the rights of persons lodged in jail is urgent, he said adding investigating the case needs to be paramount which sadly is not the case. "Police devotes very less time in investigating the cases," he added. Mohammad Amir Khan, who was allegedly picked up by the police 14 years ago and framed in various bomb blast cases before being recently acquitted by the court, was also present at the seminar. "Implementation of our laws needs to be strict and the trial must be expedited," said Khan who had spent around 10 years in Tihar jail. Compensation and rehabilitation are also a neglected part in our justice system which must be high on the priority list of the government and security forces, Sen said. A multi-pronged approach from the training and education of security forces to a fair and impartial judical system is required," said Balakrishnan.