Refuses to direct Parl to enact standalone legislation.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea for direction to Parliament to enact a comprehensive standalone law against custodial torture in conformity with the United Nation Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’
Referring to the law developed by the courts, including top court, for providing compensation in cases of unconstitutional deprivation of fundamental right to life and liberty, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that in view of this the prayer separate standalone comprehensive law must be rejected.
Referring to the number of directions, issued in the past by the top court, including to protect the fundamental right to life and liberty of the people, Justice Khanna speaking for the bench said, “However, this is not to state that the courts would not step in, when required, to protect fundamental rights.”
“It is indisputable that the right to life and the right to liberty are of foremost importance in a democratic state and, therefore, any form of torture would violate the right to life and is prohibited by Article 21 of the Constitution. Such action would be unconstitutional under Article 21 and would fail the test of non-arbitrariness under Article 14 of the Constitution”, said Justice Khanna.
In an assurance that the courts would step in if there was a violation of right to life and liberty of the people, the judgment said, “Indeed, the courts have been at the forefront in protecting and safeguarding individual rights.”
The judgment referred to Sections 330 and 331 of the IPC which provides for punishment for causing hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property’ and ‘voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property’ respectively.
The top court was moved by senior Congress leader and former Union law minister Ashwini Kumar seeking direction to Parliament to enact a suitable standalone comprehensive legislation based on the UN Convention.