Gujarat House gives nod for anti-terror bill

Modi govt rejects Prez suggestions

The Bill was passed unanimously by the ruling party members when the Opposition has been boycotting the Assembly proceedings as their demand for debate on the recent hooch tragedy has not been accepted by Speaker Ashok Bhatt.

“The suggestion made by the President should not be approved by the Assembly. If we include President’s suggestion, GUJCOC bill will become just another Indian Penal Code which is not good for Gujarat, which shares its land and sea borders with the neighbouring country Pakistan,” Minister of State for Home Amit Shah said while re-introducing the GUJCOC bill.

“When we first proposed GUJCOC, a law to fight terrorism, POTA was in force, so we had prepared a law to fight orgnanised crime. But now, when the POTA has been repealed, we do not have specific law to fight terrorism. So, we have introduced the word ‘terrorist’ and defined terrorists’ activity in the bill,” Shah added.

The President had, in last June, returned the GUJCOC bill, passed by the state Assembly in 2004, after the advice by the Union Cabinet.

While returning the bill, the President had suggested three changes which the state government has rejected.

The President, on the Union Cabinet’s advice, had told the state government to delete Clause 16 of the GUJCOC bill which allowed a confession made by a person before a police officer to be made admissible in the trial.

The other two changes were in Clause 20(2)(B) and Clause 20 (4). The President had told the state government to bring the provision in line with the provision to Section 43D (2) and Section 43 D (5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008.
“Our constitutional fathers favoured a federal structure for the country in which each state has been given equal rights. Many other states of the country has such bill,” Shah said in the Assembly.

“It is injustice with Gujarat....the Centre is not approving the bill for the state when Maharashtra already has such a bill,” Shah told reporters.

The GUJCOC Bill was passed in the State Assembly on June 2, 2004 and was sent for Presidential assent, but the Union Home Ministry did not decide on it till the UPA government returned to power after the recent elections. The bill was sent back asking the state government to modify it.

The state government’s contention on the GUJCOC has been that it is almost similar to Maharashtra’s Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime ACT and therefore the Central government should give its nod.

However, the UPA government has maintained that the bill has some provisions similar to those in POTA and therefore it cannot be given the green light as POTA has been repealed.

PTI

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