You are on page 1of 28

Anti- torture initiative in

India
•Situation & pattern
•Government stand
•Responses from Human Rights
organizations
Presented by:PVCHR
Police and torture: colonial
legacy
• Under the Indian police Act of 1861,the police
were trained to suppress all dissent against
British rule, a situation that gave unlimited
power to police officers.
• Police received very little training in investing
techniques and crime solving.
• As a result, brutal practices and the misuse of
force became endemic in the operations of the
police across the country.
“Torture is legalized state
terrorism”
Custodial torture is widespread in the country.
This is closely linked to caste based
discrimination. The discrimination of women
and the gender-based violence that include
domestic violence, dowry linked violence,
sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex-
selective abortion are the most relevant
human rights issues and concerns in India.
Reasons
The main reasons of torture are
feudal and colonial structure of police,
scarcity of resources in the police
department, political intervention and
no investigation agency apart from
police department which based on the
scientific and impartial. Feudal society
itself acknowledges the torture.
Situation of torture in India
• Torture is integral part of criminal investigation
in India and considered as cheap and easy
method in investigation.
• Brutal practices and the misuse of force is very
common in the operation of the police across
the country.
• It is tool of oppression used by those in the
position of authority to threaten and intimidate
detainees.
• Torture as a means of suppressing civil dissent.
Impunity
• The police and other security forces are given
legal immunity from act of torture and extra-
judicial killings under various legal provisions
of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA)
and section 197 of Cr.P.C. These immunities
play significant role in the prevalence of
torture and violence.
• Corruption and court delay
• Fear and phobia among society about law
enforcement agencies
• Disintegration of individual victim
Estimate
• Considering the data & number of cases withdrawn
derived from different initiative in India, we project the
annual number of torture cases at 15,24,240 in India
(about 10 cases per month in 12,702 police stations).
• The Asian Centre for Human Rights titled Torture in India
2008: A State of Denial which found that 7,468
persons(according NHRC data), at an average of 1,494
persons per year, died in prison and police custody
between 2002 to 2007.
Estimate & facts
• An equal number of persons, if not more, were
killed by the army and state paramilitary forces
custody in insurgency affected areas, a large
number of these deaths the result of torture.
• India has the highest number of cases of police
torture and custodial deaths among the world's
democracies and the weakest law against
torture.
• The police force is under constant pressure
from the media,politicians,bureaucrates & the
public to arrest and prosecute criminals.
Medical professionals and
torture
• Failure of medical authorities to provide
treatment and medical evidence to torture
victims
• Intimidation of medical professional by police
• Complicity of medical professionals in police
torture
• Breach of medical ethics
1.International Code of Medical ethics,1949
2.The declaration of Tokyo of World Medical
Association,1975
Responsible actors
• Police, prison guards, the military,para-
military forces, armed opposition groups
like the Naxalites (Indian Maoists), other
public officials and non-state actors like
upper castes, recovery agents of the
Banks, forest department,Panchayats
 and so-called  civil society organizations.
• All mainstream political parties have
employed extrajudicial torture and
killings at some time or the other.
Method and kind of torture
• Beating amounting to torture
• Sensory deprivation
• Stimulated drowning
• Electric shock
• Shooting and extra-judicial killing
• Lathi charge
• Mental torture
• Torture inflicted on minors
• Sexual assault & Rape as a tool of state repression
• Custodial death
TOV and caste
• Elitism is deeply rooted in culture and the police
are deliberately made to function in ways that
support the interest of the elite class and caste,
in the name of order.
• Caste based discrimination still affects the life
of a high percentage of Indian population and is
practiced in the educational system, in places
of work, villages and towns and even in courts
of justice.
• The refusal of the police to investigate a case of
caste discrimination is common
TOV and caste
Indian Police learnt from practice of
caste system of demoralization and
community punishment and on the
other hand most of the custodial
torture, violence and death is
committed against marginalized and
deprived caste.
TOV ,Poverty and caste
system
• Torture linked with poverty which is based
on caste, gender, racial and communal
discrimination and exclusion.

• A civil and political rights issues linked


with social, economic and cultural rights
TOV and patriarchy

• Violence against women is increasing


rapidly. Apart from above violence, the
women are victim of violence by securities
forces and armed opposition groups,
traditional justice delivered by panchayat
and cruel cultural practices like sati, honor
killing and witch hunting.
• Gender and torture
• Rape and sexual violence use a tool for
community punishment
Gender and torture

• Gender analysis on TT service by PVCHR:Male:


89(72.35%) and female:34 (27.64%)
• Mostly as secondary victims ,but more
psychological distress
• UN recognized the VAW,violence based on
caste, race and religion as torture.
• Looking the torture and violence against
women as stigma in Patriarchal society.
Communal violence as TOV
• India is secular state and person is free to
adopt any religion and act according to the
rituals of that religion.
• However concept of secularism is being
disturbed many times by extremist group,
which outcome is Sikh massacres(1984),
Mumbai rioting(1992-93), Gujarat genocide
(2002), Dargah rioting (2006) etc.
• The irony is that the police supporting the
extremists by targeting innocent people and
the politician are playing game in the name of
showing sympathy.
Communal violence as TOV
• There is lack of political will to
prosecute the perpetrators of the
violence.
• The minorities are facing from
three fold like: attack by majority
community, attack by police and
charging innocent under POTA.
State terror through Anti-
terrorism legislation
• The Armed Forces (Special Power) Act of 1958
in N&E,Kashmir
• The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act
2006, the Maharashtra Control of Organised
Crime Act 1999, the Madhya Pradesh Special
Areas Security Act 2001 and the Uttar Pradesh
Control of Organised Crime Bill 2007 are a few
examples.
• Salawa-Judum
Governments’ attitude
India has been a signatory to various
international treaties but sad to say,
enforcement and actual implementation
remain a challenge for the current
administration. The UN Convention
against Torture is a case in point. India
signed the treaty in 1997 but for more
than a decade already, said treaty has
not been ratified yet including its
concomitant protocols such as the
OPCAT.
no domestic law
There is no domestic law yet within the
framework of the CAT. On a positive note, the
Supreme Court of India had taken measures in
relation to torture by developing jurisprudence
that presents the best practices for police and
other state actors. However, the country’s
legislature has not taken yet steps to codify
these practices into law.
The Prevention of Torture
Bill 2008
• It provides narrow and restrictive definition
of torture with no reference to death as a
result of torture.
• It provides for lenient punishment for
torture, contrary to the punishments
provided under the Indian Penal Code for
similar offences.
• The government has not initiated any
discussion or debate concerning the
proposed law.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan
Singh verdict
“Today, police forces have to serve the interests of the
people, not rulers. In a democratic framework as we
are in today, there is a need to have in the police
forces a managerial philosophy, a value system and an
ethos in tune with the times. I had emphasized the
need to ensure that police forces at all levels change
from a feudal force to a democratic service. The spirit
of public service, of respect for the rights of individuals,
of being just and humane in one’s actions must
permeate the entire police force”.
Laws against torture
• Police torture is prohibited under section 330 -331
of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
• Forceful approbation of crime by police under
section 161 C.r.P.C. that is not evidence under
section 26 of evidence act; if the statement is not
given before the magistrate, then question arise
why police is taking the hold of torture?
• Amended section 176 (A) of C.r.P.C. have provision
for the investigation in the each case of custodial
death.
Guidelines, directive
• Article 21 of Indian Constitution gave
rights to live with dignity, which is
against the basic principle of torture.
• Under section 97 of C.r.P.C. magistrate
may issue search –warrant if any
person is illegally taken in the custody.
• Honorable Supreme Court issues
essential guideline for the detention in
the case of D.K Basu Vs West Bengal,
which is mandatory for police to follow.
Guidelines,directive
• In the encounter killing, National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC,www.nhrc.nic.in) directed
for the FIR on the police also and the fair
investigation by independent agency.
• NHRC also directed to send the videography of
post mortem report in case of custodial death.
• There is a provision of interim relief as
compensation under section 19 of Human Right
Act.
Police reform
• Model police Act 2006
• Supreme Court directive on police reform in
2006 in case of Prakash Singh v/s Government
of India.
• Recommendations of police commission, law
commission,NHRC
• Independence of Crime investigation
• Second administrative Reform Commission and
5th report titled “Public order’ contains its
recommendations on police administration.
Response from HR
organizations in India
• Initiative against AFSPA,Torture and
organized violence at grass root
intervention and advocacy.
• Very few organization involve in
rehabilitation and healing of survivors
• HRLN,ACHR,PWTN,SICHREM,PVCHR,PUCL,P
UDR,PUCHR,Human Rights Alert, Wide
Angel,MASUM and etc from India
• AHRC,Human Rights watch,Amenesty
International,OMCT,Frontline and others as
regional and international organizations