NA body approves ‘Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape Bill 2014’
ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body Thursday passed ‘The Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape Bill, 2014,’ seeking prevention of all acts of torture, custodial death and custodial rape committed by public servants or any person acting in an official capacity.
The sub-committee of the National Assembly Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control which met in the chair of its Convener MNA Syed Javed Ali Shah unanimously approved “The Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape Bill, 2014” moved by MNA Maiza Hameed, which provides protection to all citizens of Pakistan from acts of torture, custodial death and custodial rape perpetrated by public servants or any person acting in an official capacity.
According to the statement of objects and reasons, Pakistan signed the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in 2008, and thereafter ratified it in 2010.
The ratification of the convention requires enabling legislation to reflect the definition and punishment for ‘torture’.
Though some provisions relating to the matter exist in the Pakistan Penal Code, they neither define ‘torture’ as clearly as in Article 1 of the said convention, nor deem it a criminal offence as called for by Article 4 of the said convention.
Under the circumstances, it is necessary that after the ratification of the convention, domestic laws of the country are brought in conformity with the convention.
Furthermore, it is incumbent upon the federal government to implement international conventions and treaties by virtue of items number 3 and 32 of the Federal Legislative List under the Constitution of Pakistan 1973.
The committee also discussed three private members bills referred to the committee. The bills seek provision of punishment and fine for cannibalism in Pakistan.
MNA SA Iqbal Qadri moved one bill while MNA Aliya Kamran and MNA Dr Nikhat Shakeel Khan moved the second and third bill entitled “The Criminal law (amendment act) 2014” regarding the same amendment.
The subcommittee decided that the three bills were similar in nature and they be clubbed together to avoid overlapping. The committee discussed the bill in detail, but decided to defer it till next meeting in order to hold further discussion over it.
The bills seek insertion of two sections in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860 after Section 297 namely 297-A and 297-B. The section 297-A says, ”Whoever without due permission from competent authority exhumes corpse or any part of corpse shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may be extended to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”
The section 297-B says, “Whoever exhumes corpse or any part of corpse with intent to cook, eat or to sell it or to use for magic any organ or removes hair of female corpse, cooks any part of these corps or eats or sells any organ of these corpse shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.
The committee appreciated the efforts of the members for bringing the “The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014.”
Syed Javed Ali Shah said that this is a crime against society; therefore, those who are found involved in cannibalism should be given exemplary punishment.
MNA SA Iqbal Qadri said that there is no provision in the PPC for giving exemplary punishment to those who are found involved in the cannibalism.
However, a senior official of Ministry of Interior said that the ministry has no huge data on the issue and only two or four cases have so far been reported; therefore, it is not necessary to do legislation over it.
He said that cannibalism is very dangerous act but exhumation of dead body, cooking and eating parts of dead body don’t not fall under the domain of cannibalism. He suggested that the committee should replace the word cannibalism with necromania. But the committee decided to discuss the issue with legal experts regarding replacing cannibalism with appropriate word.
MNA Aliya Kamran said that disrespect of dead body is a serious issue and she wants increase in punishment for at least seven years with a fine of Rs0.1 million.
She said nowadays people have started cannibalism to which no punishment has been provided in the Pakistan Penal Code, so to address the issue, Section 297-A in PPC is required to be introduced, besides amending the second schedule of CRPC.