A Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant

A variety of programmes have been developed in Anglo-American countries for training police for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. The International Criminal Police Organisation, the International Federation of Senior Police Officers and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have often made important suggestions bearing on police training.

An International conference on “Urban Police” was held at Rome in September, 1985 to tackle the problem of urban crimes and suggest measures for prevention of urban delinquency. The problem of rural policing is also engaging the attention of even affluent countries like Germany, USA, UK and France.

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In this context, it must be stated that India being a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it has ratified as many as thirteen international instruments on human rights, but it has not yet ratified convention against custodial torture contained in the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.

The human rights jurisprudence having now assumed global importance, India should not remain content by merely setting up a National Human Rights Commission, but should take steps to ratify the human rights instruments, particularly, the convention against torture, which should be made a non-derogable right.

Obviously, this would require drastic changes in the existing Police Act, 1861 which has now become outdated. Similar changes are also called for in the Jail Manual which represents the legacy of the British colonial rule in India and is no longer in tune with the concept of modern democratic welfare States.

It is, however, heartening to note that introduction of the electronic video linkage in recent years has eased the burden on the police to a considerable extent. The NHRC has appreciated this measure as the police will no longer be required to accompany the undertrials to the Magistrate’s Court every fifteen days for extending their remand period.

In other words, remand prisoners would not be required to be physically produced before the Magistrate; instead, Magistrate would extend the remand period through video-conferencing. Indeed, e-mail connectivity to all police stations will provide for speedy correspondence as in most of the States Video-conferencing facility has been provided to DGP, Zonal I.G.’s, Range, DIGs and SPs at the district level.