"As the world's largest multi-layered democracy, we fully recognise the importance of free speech and expression. Our people are conscious of their political freedoms and exercise their choices at every opportunity," Mr Rohatgi said at the review meeting held every four years.
At Thursday's meeting, the country's top law officer repeatedly mentioned the pivotal role played by the judiciary in upholding human rights in the country along with other institutions. He used the word, court, no less than 21 times.
On one occasion, without naming Yakub Memon, he mentioned how he was summoned at 2 in the morning by the Supreme Court to hear his appeal. On others, he spoke about the top court's direction to declare transgender persons as the third gender, holding the right to clean environment as a part of an individual's right to life and its rejection of the government's stand that AFSPA gave blanket immunity to the armed forces for perpetrators of unjustified deaths.
Italy, Israel, and Japan asked India to abolish death penalty and ratify the international convention against torture that New Delhi had signed nearly 19 years ago. A bill to make changes to criminal law was introduced in parliament in 2010 but never passed.
Mr Rohatgi held his ground, telling the review meeting that "the concept of torture was completely alien to our culture" and reiterated India's commitment to ratify the convention. He gave no assurances on removing AFSPA, which more than one government panel have said should be repealed. "Whether this Act should be repealed or not is a matter of on-going vibrant political debate in my country," he said.