States, UTs told to respond to proposed law on custodial torture

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed states and union territories (UTs) to file their responses to the Centre’s proposed law on curbing custodial torture and death.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna gave time till February 11 to respond.

If the responses are not filed, then the secretaries of the defaulting states and union territories would have to be personally present in the court on the next date of hearing on February 13, the bench added.

Based on the replies, the Centre will file a status report by February 13.

The court order came on a PIL by former Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar seeking enactment of a law to prohibit custodial torture in discharge of India’s obligation to the international treaty.

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It ordered the states to file their response after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that only eight states and UTs had sent their views.

“The proposed legislation will have an impact on the states, therefore their views have been sought,” Chief Justice Gogoi said. He asked: “Can a state under Article 21 of the Constitution take a stand contrary to the obligations under international treaty?”

–IANS

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