Gujarat government passes controversial anti-terror bill

Gujarat government passes controversial anti-terror bill

The Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday passed a controversial bill which empowers the police to intercept phone calls and allows such intercepts and confessions extracted to be used as evidence in a court of law.

The bill in its earlier form had failed to get Presidential assent twice. The proposed legislation is all-pervasive in its scope and provides the police with complete powers to tap personal phones without permission and detain people.

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015, was passed by the House, where the BJP commands a majority, on the last day of the Budget session.
The bill aims to strengthen the state anti-terror and anti-organised crime laws.
The Congress, which has been opposing the bill for over a decade now, registered its opposition once again and staged a walk-out.

The bill, drawn on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, has a provision for death penalty and a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

In 2004, the first bill, called the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill, was passed by the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government and was sent to the then President A P J Abdul Kalam for his assent.

The BJP-led NDA government was then in power at the Centre.
The President’s office apparently objected to the clause that allowed intercepted phone calls as admissible evidence and rejected the bill.

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