The Home Ministry has sent the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015 to the President for his assent.
The anti-terror Bill, passed by the Gujarat Assembly and twice rejected by the previous UPA government, has been cleared by the Narendra Modi government and sent to the President for his assent.
The GCTOC Bill, 2015, which has been hanging fire since Mr. Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister first introduced it in 2003, has been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent, a Home Ministry official said.
The Bill provides for admissibility of evidence collected through interception of mobile calls of an accused or through confessions made before an investigating officer, in a court of law.
In July, the Home Ministry had sent back the controversial Bill to the State government asking it to clarify on certain issues raised by the Ministry of Information and Technology (IT).
The IT Ministry has objected to the provision in the Bill which allows authorisation of interception of telephone conversations and their admissibility as evidence before a court of law.
The Gujarat government strongly rebutted the objections raised by the IT Ministry. In its reply, the Gujarat government cited the subjects mentioned in the ‘concurrent list’ under which the Centre and the State share the responsibility of formulating ‘criminal law’ and ‘criminal procedure.’
The Centre has given its consent to the provision of extensions of time limit for filing of charge sheet from 90 days to 180 days after consultation with other Central Ministries.
The Gujarat Assembly in March had passed the stringent Bill retaining controversial provisions that had twice earlier led to a previous such Bill being rejected by the President.
The Bill was first rejected by then President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2004, demanding that the clause relating to interception of communication be removed. It was again rejected when Pratibha Patil was the President.