End Torture Culture | UPSC

IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 3rd July 2020

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.” –Anonymous

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT 103 :“End Torture Culture | UPSC

End Torture Culture | UPSC
Ajit Prakash Shah

Ajit Prakash Shah is retired Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts

      HEADLINES:

India’s torture culture needs to end now

      CENTRAL THEME:

Only the people, including the Bar, the media, civil society and student groups, can rise up against torture practices

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:End Torture Culture : Police Reforms

      MAINS QUESTION:

India needs a stringent framework against Torture Culture at prison. Discuss -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Torture in cells is colonial legacy
  • UNCAT ratification
  • Bills and Verdicts

      INTRODUCTION: 

Being found guilty of the ‘offence’ of keeping a shop open during the lockdown would have ordinarily granted Jayaraj and Benicks a maximum of only three months of imprisonment.

  • RATIONALE OF REMAND : Before the two men died, the police sought their remand, which a judge sitting in a court complex mechanically seems to have granted, without ever seeing the two men, or seeming to question the rationale for their remand.
  • AVOIDABLE DEATHS : The series of events, starting with the cruel lockdown enforcement methods and concluding with the utterly gruesome and entirely avoidable deaths.

      BODY: 

ENDEMIC TO POLICE CULTURE

  • COLONIAL FOOTPRINTS : Indeed, it would not be a miss to argue that this culture in India today is reminiscent of the brutality of the colonial police forces that we are so keen to forget.
  • OFFICIAL DATA : Official data also accept that police torture is a reality, but the quality of such data is always suspect.
  • POLICING CULTURE : The data on torture show that it is not only an integral part of India’s policing culture; in some investigations (such as terror cases), it is treated as the centrepiece.
  • LAWS NEED CHECKS AND BALANCES:  Under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act confessions are taken as evidences.
  • TECHNOLOGICAL UPGRADE : Policing has also not mainstreamed the upgrade to newer technologies, like DNA analysis, which can directly impact law enforcement practices.
  • STRINGENT LEGAL FRAMEWORK :  Commitment to the principles of international law under the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) to which India has been a signatory since 1997, and a watertight enforcement mechanism that deters such practices.

SUPREME COURT ON TORTURE

  • RAGHBIR SINGH V. STATE OF HARYANA (1980) : The Court was “deeply disturbed by the diabolical recurrence of police torture resulting in a terrible scare in the minds of common citizens .
  • SHEELA BARSE V. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA (1987) : Where the Court condemned cruelty and torture as violative of Article 21.

The UNCAT aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

  • Although India signed the UNCAT in 1997, it is yet to ratify it.
  • PREVENTION OF TORTURE BILL : In 2010, a weak Prevention of Torture Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha later sent it to a Select Committee for review in alignment with the UNCAT. 

  But the Committee’s recommended law, submitted in 2012, never fructified,  the Bill lapsed.

      IASbhai Windup: 

#ENDTORTURETODAY

  • NEED OF THE BILL : There have been opportunities for 23 years to enact a law on torture, but they have been studiously avoided.

#ENDTORTURECULTURE
Arguably we need a people’s movement at home too that will bring about the necessary legislative changes that the Law Commission has suggested.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL | End Torture Culture | UPSC

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