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Don’t approve anti-terror Bill, Gujarat Congress asks Governor

The Gujarat Congress, led by State president Bharatsinh Solanki and Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela, on Monday, presented a memorandum to Governor O.P. Kohli requesting him not to approve the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015 in the interest of the country.

The delegation pointed out that even the NDA government at the Centre did not give its nod to [the earlier bill] GUJCOC. Arguing that provisions pertaining to confessions given to the police and interception of communication in the new Bill contradicted those of Central laws, the memorandum said, “According to our Constitution, State laws cannot go against Central laws.”

The State government drafted the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC) in 2001 when the BJP was in power in the State and at the Centre. The Centre returned the draft suggesting changes.

In 2003, when the Assembly first passed the GUJCOC, then Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari, instead ratifying it, sent it to the President for approval.

In 2004, then Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam too returned GUJCOC to Gujarat without approval.

With the 2015 Bill (a revised version of GUJCOC), the Congress warned that the provision empowering the police to intercept phone communication was a violation of the Indian Telegraph Act and the fundamental rights of the citizen.

“In light of cases of corruption in the police force, giving unbridled power to the police is fraught with risks of custodial torture to extract confessions and fake encounters. After repealing POTA, the Government of India had introduced Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004, which is enough to fight terrorism,” the memorandum states.

When GUJCOC was introduced, it did not mention the word terrorism, which was inserted seven and a half years later, to gain political mileage from the issue, the Congress said.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 10:15:18 PM |

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