Cabinet clears anti-torture legislation

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved an anti-torture legislation that seeks to check inhuman treatment of people detained by Armed Forces and police.

The proposed legislation that will also lead to ratification of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Degrading Treatment, of which India is a signatory is likely to be placed before Parliament in the second phase of the Budget Session.

"After a lot of deliberation on the issue, it was decided to bring a piece of standalone legislation so that the Convention could be ratified. Accordingly, a draft Bill, namely the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2009, was drafted," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

The proposed Bill prescribes a maximum of 10 years in jail for a person found guilty of torture. However, the proposed law will not apply in cases covered by special laws such as the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved a Rs 1,540-crore modernisation package for Doordarshan and All India Radio, to help these organisations face the growing competition in the broadcasting sector.

"This process of digitalisation of DD and AIR will enable people in the remotest of the remote areas to receive higher quality signals," Soni said.

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