Tamil Nadu: Wajahat Habibullah Stresses The Need For A Strong Law Against Custodial Torture, Killing
NEW DELHI, JUNE 30—Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, who currently heads the Executive Committee (India chapter) of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has stressed the need for police reforms in the wake of torture and killing of a father and son in police custody in Tamil Nadu recently.
In a statement, the former bureaucrat said that the custodial killing of P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks indicated that there was an urgent need for a strong law against custodial torture and murder.
The father-son duo was arrested by the police on violating the permitted hours for keeping their shops open.
Quoting a report, he said that as many as 1731 people had died in police custody in India in 2019 alone.
“Given the reality and the circumstances of the recent deaths, we urge the Government of India to bring a draft law on torture before Parliament as a top priority and announce its commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)”, Habibullah said.
He said that India signed UNCAT in 1997 but it is yet to ratify it.
“India has since pledged several times to ratify it, including as recently as 2018. Despite two official Bills which lapsed, a private member’s Bill and a report by the Law Commission, the issue has not been a priority of the Central government. We wish to point out that India is among the few countries that have not ratified the UNCAT-170 have, including Pakistan and China. India is among 25 other nations which have not ratified”, he said