Home Ministry to again work on anti-terror bill
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recalled the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent today. The MHA is expected to "rework it with additional inputs from the state government" and then send it again for the President's approval. Sources claimed that the bill was recalled on Gujarat's behest.
The Bill, then known as Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC) was first introduced in 2003 when Mr Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat The first variant of the bill was given to the Centre in 2004 by the Modi government in Gujarat. However, the union government led by BJP's AB Vajpayee had conveyed it back, requiring major changes in the proposal.
The Bill was returned back twice, first in 2004 by APJ Abdul Kalam and then in 2008 by President Pratibha Patil.
The bill drew opposition and civil activists ire as it sought to arm the state Police with sweeping powers. Some of its controversial propositions included "allowing the use of police intercepts of phone calls as evidence in courts, seizure of accused's property, and extended 180-day deadline to file a charge-sheet". Another contentious clause made confessions to an officer of SP rank admissible in court.
The Bill, which was first introduced in 2003 was passed by the Gujarat state assembly for the fourth time in 12 years in March 2015 under the leadership of Anandiben Patel.
The Home Ministry has cleared the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime ( GCTOC) Bill, 2015 Though Rajnath's ministry had some reservations with the bill, it was sent for approval to the President citing reasons that it had already been delayed too much. A Home Ministry spokesperson revealed that the ministry "will only comment once we receive communication from the President's House."
Congress party that had walked out at the time the anti-terror bill was passed, calling it a 'draconian bill' sent a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee urging him "not to give his assent to the controversial anti-terror law". It presented a memorandum to the President on the Bill with party spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil claiming that the "BJP was playing politics over it."