Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prevention of Torture Bill 2008, and transparent law-making

Several readers have enquired about the draft Prevention of Torture Bill 2008, mentioned in my article on impunity provisions. This blog discussed the possibility of bipartisan consensus on outlawing torture in the aftermath of the Pragya Thakur case here, and the connection between torture and confessions here. I still think that the Bill, if enacted, will join other platitudes unless we repeal impunity provisions.

My apologies for the bad quality of the text of the Torture Bill. It is the best my scanner could do, with unclear text to begin with. (Thanks to Maneesh Chhibber for sharing the document and to Venkatesan for sending me a hard copy by post.) One should not need to go through such trouble merely to get access to an important piece of draft legislation. This guest post on our blog dealt with problems in accessing legal material, and the possibilities under the Right to Information Act. This recent article also bemoans the secrecy surrounding law-making. Perhaps newspapers, which sometimes have privileged access to primary documents, should upload them on their websites. Of course, the long term solution must lie with the government living up to its obligations under s. 4 of the RTI Act.
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