PESHAWAR: Member of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Inayatullah Khan on Thursday submitted a private member’s bill on the prevention of custodial deaths and sexual violence to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seeking life imprisonment and fine up to Rs3 million for the culprits, their abettors and those conspiring to commit these offences.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prevention of Torture and Custodial Death Bill, 2021, is expected to be introduced in the next session of the assembly.

Section 4(1) of the proposed bill says: “whoever commits, or abets or conspires to commit the offence of custodial death or custodial sexual violence, shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine, which may extend to Rs 3 million.”

According to sub-section 3 of the same section, the fine, if recovered, shall be paid to the legal heirs of the victim or to the victim as the case may be. In case fine is not recovered, additional imprisonment shall be awarded which may extended to five years.

Seeks life sentence, up to Rs3 million fine for culprits, abettors

MPA Inayatullah told Dawn that he had submitted the bill to the assembly over the recent custodial deaths of suspects in Peshawar and Islamabad and the physical torture of suspects in custody.

“Physical torture of suspects during custody has become an outdated technique of investigation, so our investigation agencies should get rid of the colonial era tools,” he said.

The lawmaker said the police and other investigative agencies should apply forensic techniques during custody instead of relying on old tactics of invesitgation.

Section 3(1) of the bill says whoever commits, or abets or conspires to commit torture shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, not less than three years, which may extend to ten years and with fine, which may extend to Rs 2 millions.

It adds that no person shall be detained in order to extract information regarding the whereabouts of a person accused of any offence or to extract evidence from such person. Similarly, no woman shall be taken or held in custody by a man and only a woman public servant can lawfully take a woman into custody.

“The provisions of this section are in addition to the obligations outlined in Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898),” reads sub-section 3 of the bill’s Section 5. According to the bills, any statement, which appears to have been obtained as a result of torture, shall be inadmissible, and shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that statement was made.

“Every offence punishable under the Act shall be non-compoundable and non-billable within the meaning of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.”

Section 14 of the bill says the investigation of the offences under the Act would be completed within 14 days from the date of submission of the complaint and if the investigation of an offence under the Act is not completed within 14 days, the sessions court will call for a report in writing for explaining the delay in completion of the investigation.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2021

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