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Gujarat may dilute anti-terror Bill to get assent

The Gujarat government is likely to water down “contentious provisions” in the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act (GujCTOC) which has been returned by the President for clarifications on certain provisions deemed to be draconian and ripe for misuse by the police.

“We are yet to receive the communication from the Union Home Ministry regarding the clarifications sought. But we will water down some provisions to make it tenable,” a top official told The Hindu.

Scrutiny

One main issue is custody of 180 days without framing charges, prone to be misused by the police, he said.

The Bill allows confessions before police officers to be admissible in court as evidence against the accused.

In the past, such provisions were apparently misused in TADA and POTA, both repealed now.

It also provides powers to the police for attachment and forfeiture of property of a member of an organised crime syndicate. “The word ‘terrorism’ is likely to be done away with in the Bill because terrorism is a Central subject and a State cannot pass a law on it,” the official said.

The State Home Department is likely to review provisions related to interception of mobile and other communication channels and gathering of evidence through such interception.

Centre's objections

Earlier, the Union Ministry had raised certain objections on the interception provisions.

“We will ensure that clauses related to interception are in line with the rules and norms of the Central government,” the official said.

The amended Bill is likely to be introduced and passed in the budget session of the Assembly from February 23.

The present Bill was passed by the Gujarat Assembly in March 2015, retaining controversial and draconian provisions that provide sweeping powers to the police.

The government contended that “to effectively fight terrorism and organised crime, the State needed a tough law”.

Sent back thrice

Earlier, the Bill was returned without presidential accord thrice during the tenure of Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat. The Bill was first passed in 2003 in the wake of horrendous communal riots that claimed over a 1,000 lives in the State in 2002.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 4:13:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Gujarat-may-dilute-anti-terror-Bill-to-get-assent/article14028772.ece

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