U.P. Assembly passes UPCOC Bill, Oppn. dubs it ‘black law’

Updated - December 22, 2017 11:55 am IST

Published - December 22, 2017 07:16 am IST - Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Dinesh Sharma in Lucknow.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Dinesh Sharma in Lucknow.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Thursday passed the stringent Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crimes (UPCOC) Bill, 2017, aimed at curbing organised crime and terror, by voice vote after the Opposition members staged a walkout alleging that it was a “draconian” legislation.

A united Opposition expressed apprehension that the UPCOC Bill could be misused against political adversaries and the press and demanded that it be sent to the select committee of the House for scrutiny.

The Bill was tabled by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to enact a law on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). It entails stern punishment for those trying to dislodge the government forcibly or violently.

The Opposition members were of the view that there was no need for such a legislation as there were sufficient provisions in the IPC and the CrPC. They called it a “black law”.

The Bill is likely to be taken up on Friday in the Legislative Council where the ruling BJP does not enjoy majority.

Initiating the debate, the Chief Minister assured the members against any possible misuse of the proposed law.

‘Security without bias’

“Ever since the day the draft of the Bill was approved by the Cabinet, I have noticed that the Opposition parties are against it. I can give the guarantee that the BJP has never misused any law and will never do so. We have come to bring development and give security without any bias,” he said.

The Chief Minister compared the Bill with similar laws in Maharashtra and Karnataka and said it will create terror in the minds of those who have made “crime a trade”.

Seeking the Opposition’s backing for the Bill, he cited its salient features and said it was “unfortunate that they wanted to support those who were indulging in organised crime by opposing the proposed law”.

The Chief Minister said that another Bill is on the anvil through which about 20,000 political cases will come to an end.

Earlier attempt

Tarring the Bill as a “black law” and an “undeclared emergency”, Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary referred to an earlier attempt by the then Mayawati government in 2007 which had got a similar Bill passed but it failed to get presidential assent.

Mr. Chaudhary even read the previous speeches of BJP leaders Hukum Singh, now an MP, and MLA Suresh Khanna, who is the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, and stressed that both had opposed the measure expressing fear that it will be used against the Opposition parties.

“All rights have been given to the administration and to the police in the Bill. The government which had promised to establish Ram Rajya is making provision for capital punishment,” he said and stressed that the basic ethos of the Constitution are that no innocent should be punished.

“I request you against creating a “Bhasmasur” (self-destructive demon)... having the feeling of autocracy in a democracy is not good,” Mr. Chaudhary said.

Lalji Verma and Sukhdev Rajbhar of BSP, SP leader Azam Khan and Ajay Kumar Lallu (Congress) alleged that the Bill has been brought to crush the voice of politicians, farmers, social workers and journalists and is against the constitutional right of freedom of expression.

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