Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Centre asks Gujarat to change anti-terror Bill

Centre asks Gujarat to change anti-terror Bill

Author: Vishwa Mohan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 20, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/President-advised-to-return-Gujarat-anti-terror-act/articleshow/4676534.cms

After sitting over Gujarat's anti-terror legislation for years, the Centre on Friday decided to return the controversial Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, saying it could not be sent for presidential assent without three key amendments.

The decision to return the bill to the state was taken by the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This is the second such bill to be returned to a state, the first being the Uttar Pradesh Organised Crime Bill which chief minister Mayawati withdrew last year.

"The Cabinet has approved the proposal to recommend to the President that the bill may be returned to Gujarat to make three changes before it can be considered for assent," home minister P Chidambaram said.

The matter, incidentally, went to the Cabinet after President Pratibha Patil asked the home ministry to take its approval before seeking her consent on the ministry's rejection to the bill in its present form.

Among the three provisions in GUJCOC Bill which the Centre objected to was Clause 16, which allows admissibility of confessional statement before a police officer during trial. The other two are Clause 20(4)(b) that provides that no accused of an offence punishable under the proposed law shall be released on bail if the prosecutor opposes it and Clause 20(2)(b) that deals with the power of the special court to extend the accused's detention without bail from 90 days to 180 days.

Chidambaram said, "The decision to return the GUJCOC Bill has been taken to bring it in conformity with the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which was amended by Parliament last year. There are three provisions of the bill which have not been in accordance with the UAP Act as amended by Parliament."

The Centre, however, kept the doors open for the bill if it was amended by the state assembly. Chidambaram said, "We will be able to recommend to the President for assent only after the three provisions are amended to bring it in conformity with what Parliament has passed recently, mainly UAP Act."

Sources said the home ministry had decided to reject GUJCOC Bill a couple of months ago and had even requested the President to do so, but Patil asked the ministry in April to go back to the Cabinet before seeking her consent.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had been pushing hard to get the bill cleared. He even met the PM last year and sought his intervention, arguing that the Centre should not reject it when it had earlier given its consent for a similar law -- Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) -- in a Congress ruled state.

Meanwhile, Congress backed the Centre's decision to return the bill, claiming that it was on the lines of Pota. "If the provisions of the bill are more stringent than that of Pota, then it cannot be approved immediately," party spokesman Shakil Ahmed told reporters.

He recalled that withdrawal of Pota had been part of the party's election pledge in 2004.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements