New Delhi
In its draft `Prevention of torture bill, 2017′ submitted to the law ministry on Monday , the law commission has proposed stringent punishment to `agents’ of the government to curb the menace of torture. It said the government should ratify the UN convention on torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, which will help in extradition of criminals from foreign countries.The report said the Indian Evidence Act required the insertion of a new section 114B.“This 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 ,“ it said. The panel said a bill should be introduced in Parliament to amend various laws to prevent torture by government officials.

It said by ratifying the UN convention it would tide over difficulties in extraditing criminals from foreign countries which is often problematic due to the absence of a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities.

The report said the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, require amendments to accommodate provisions regarding compensation and burden of proof. It also recommended an amendment to section 357B to incorporate payment of compensation, in addition to the payment of fine provided in the Indian Penal Code.

Referring to compensation to victims, it said the courts would decide upon a “justiciable compensation“ after taking into account various facets of an individual’s case, such as nature, purpose, extent and manner of injury , including mental agony caused to the victim. The report also said an effective mechanism must be put in place to protect victims of torture and witnesses against possible threats, violence or ill treatment.