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Thirteen years after India signed an international treaty against torture, the union cabinet Thursday approved a proposal to introduce a legislation against torture.

‘It is an affirmative positive action to prevent cruelty and degradation of human life,’ Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010, will be a step towards ratification of 1975 UN Convention against torture and other cruel, Inhuman and Degrading treatment or punishment, she said.

India had inked the convention in 1997 October, but it had not yet ratified the convention, as it required bringing in a domestic legislation.

‘Although some provisions exist in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), they neither define ‘torture’ as clearly as in Article 1 of the convention nor make it criminal as called for by Article 4,’ said a government press release.

Earlier, the government had tried to modify the IPC, which would have been a complicated procedure.

‘The matter was examined at length in consultation with the Law Commission of India and the then attorney general of India,’ said the release.

Further, state governments were also consulted as the matter fell into the concurrent list of the constitution.

‘After a lot of deliberation on the issue, it was decided to bring a piece of ‘stand alone’ legislation so that the convention could be ratified. Accordingly, Prevention of Torture Bill, 2009, was drafted,’ it added.

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