Ticking Bomb Theory: Is India Ready for it?

Suppose there is a time sensitive situation in which the bomb has been planted in various parts of the country and the person who is responsible for the planting of the bombs is in the custody but refuses to help in location of the bombs. In such situations will torture be justified? Should we give priority to the human rights of the person in the custody, which is against the human rights of hundreds of people who are going to be the victims of the attack?

This is the biggest paradox that we are forced to live in being the citizens of India. America and many other nations have moved forward and made intensive investigation or the ‘ticking bomb theory’ as the soul of their criminal justice system to investigate on the matters which are time sensitive and which have grave consequences. The US Patriot Act renewed the enhanced interrogation of terrorists for protecting the country from the evil. George Bush has also defended the Act by saying that it does not undermine any of the civil liberties. Moreover, if the ticking bomb theory is applied only one person shall suffer the pain and rest of the hundred lives will be saved and if it is not applied then many people will die. The Principle of Utility by Jeremy Bentham justifies this torture, as it seeks to maximise the welfare of the people and community as a whole.

In India the scenario is very different as our criminal justice system breathes on “presumption of innocence” and the person in custody has all his rights intact. Our criminal justice system is based on the notion that “It is better that several guilty person should escape punishment than one innocent person should suffer”. But the question really is whether this is still appropriate in the present scenario of terrorism and whether the balance between liberty and security should always be ensured without any regard to the growing terrorism. India is a very soft country and so are the laws. Though the laws such a POTA and TADA had made their mark in India nothing can be equated to the ticking bomb theory. Even if such a theory is incorporated in any law in India the so called human rights activists won’t let it sustain. Moreover, a divorce can never ensue between India and Corruption. Hence if the torture is made legal, the rate of police violence and false cases might also increase. POTA and TADA are the clear examples of this, which were repealed due to their abuse and unreasonable use. The physical coercion in interrogations might also lead to the victim disclosing unreliable information. Moreover in India we consider torture to be wrong and against humanity and if we continue to torture people in the name of terrorism a wrong example might be created in the eyes of a citizen.

India is and will always remain a state which LEGALLY prohibits torture during interrogation though the police machinery used it as an effective tool to gather the information from the terrorist. Now comes a time for the country to pick between national security and dignity of the human beings and India will always pick human dignity and will fly high the flag of presumption of innocence. Moreover, India being a democracy the ticking bomb theory will not escape the legal and moral scrutiny.

Though the ticking bomb theory is very effective and is proved to be successful in the global scenario, a country such as India is still not ready to make a law which gives a license to torture. For India it would, of course, be better to strengthen the national security than to compromise with the dignity of human beings when it is known that any law of that kind would get abused.

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