The Supreme Court has said it respected the government’s “political compulsions” and would not compel it to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, or command it to frame a standalone anti-torture legislation
What has happened?
Former Union Law Minister had filed a petition urging SC to order government to pass a standalone anti-torture law
What did SC say?
- “How can we compel the government to make a law? Can we ask the government to ratify a treaty by way of a mandamus,” Chief Justice Misra asked Mr. Kumar
- Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on the Bench, said the government “has to take a political decision on whether or not it should ratify the treaty”.
Law commission’s view
- The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and frame a standalone anti-torture law, making the state responsible for any injury inflicted by its agents on citizens
- The commission has said the state should not claim immunity for the actions of its officers or agents
- Prevention of Torture Bill: In its 273rd report handed over to the Law Ministry, the commission has proposed the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017, which gives a wide definition to torture, not limited to physical pain but also including “inflicting injury, either intentionally or involuntarily, or even an attempt to cause such an injury, which will include physical, mental or psychological in nature”
Union Government said that it is considering an anti-torture law
United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)
- It is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nationsthat aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishmentaround the world.
- The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured
- The text of the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984and, following ratification by the 20th state party,it came into force on 26 June 1987. 26 June is now recognized as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, in honor of the Convention
Has India signed or ratified it?
Though India signed the convention in 1997, it is yet to ratify it