SC seeks NHRC reply on plea to prevent torture of prisoners

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on a plea seeking direction to frame an effective law to prevent torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners in custody.

A bench of the Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao sought response from Registrar General of NHRC.

The court’s order came on a PIL filed by former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Ashwani Kumar, who has sought directions to empower agencies like NHRC with the necessary enforcement capabilities and mechanism for implementation of its orders and directions.

The court also appointed activist and senior lawyer, Colin Gonsalves, as an amicus curiae in the matter.

Kumar also referred to 90 per cent physically disabled and wheelchair-bound Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba, who was allegedly brutalised by police in Nagpur Jail.

The lawyer said that torture meted out to thousands of prisoners in custody “shocks the constitutional conscience”.

Despite being a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture, 1997, India has not ratified the convention so far since ratification requires an enabling legislation to reflect the definition and punishment for torture, he added.