DMK MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi urged the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, to promulgate an ordinance to put an end to custodial deaths and custodial torture.
Drawing the attention of the Home Minister to the spate of custodial violence and police excesses that had come to light as a result of the unfortunate deaths of Jeyaraj and Bennicks, she requested him for an emergent measure to promulgate an ordinance that will address the root of custodial deaths and put in place a legal framework for victims to access justice.
She said the Government of India in 2010 had brought The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 to provide punishment for torture inflicted by public servants or any person inflicting torture with the consent or acquiescence of any public servant.
The bill, passed by Lok Sabha, was subsequently referred to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha and the committee submitted its report on December 6, 2010. However, with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha, the Bill has lapsed.
She pointed out that India was a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture but had not ratifed the convention, which requires bringing a
legislation to define and punish ‘torture’. The 2010 Bill was brought exactly for this purpose, she said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India had recorded a total of 1,723 cases of death of persons in judicial and police custody across the country from January to December 2019, she said and referred to an analysis by the
National Convention Against Torture from the ‘Crime in India’ reports from 2005
to 2018, which revealed that with respect to the death of 500 “persons remanded
to police custody by court”, only 281 cases have beeen registered, wherein 54
policemen have been charge-sheeted but none convicted.