Several provisions of the Gujarat law are a replay of draconian anti-terror laws starting with the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, enacted in 1985.
The law allows a suspect to be kept in 30-day custody; also, the police can take 180 days to file a charge sheet — double the the time under the Criminal Procedure Code.
This leeway is an echo of provisions in laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act, repealed in 2004 by the UPA government.
However, identical provisions are found in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
Echo of POTA provisions
Under the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill, the power given to investigating agencies to hold the suspect in custody for 30 days, among other things, is a faithful echo of provisions of the earlier laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed in 2004 by the UPA government.
However, near identical provisions are found in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), which is still in force and which has also been in force in the national capital since 2002.
In fact, the existence and use of the MCOCA had always been a point of contention between Narendra Modi and the UPA government, which thwarted his earlier attempts to pass a similar legislation for Gujarat when he was Chief Minister. In 2009, the Union Cabinet returned the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act Bill, passed by the Gujarat Assembly for the second time, seeking amendments to “three harsh and draconian” provisions.