HOME MINISTRY WANTS TO LOOK AT GUJARAT ANTI-TERROR LAW AFRESH

Less than two months after it forwarded the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, 2003, to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation to send it back to the Gujarat Assembly without signing it in view of its “draconian” provisions, the Home Ministry has recalled the file from the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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Less than two months after it forwarded the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, 2003, to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation to send it back to the Gujarat Assembly without signing it in view of its “draconian” provisions, the Home Ministry has recalled the file from the Rashtrapati Bhawan. “We received a communiqué from the Home Ministry three days ago that it wants the GUJCOC Bill file back. We have sent it back,” said a senior officer in Rashtrapati Bhawan. While Home Ministry officials refused to say why the Bill file had been called back, Rashtrapati Bhawan sources reportedly said the decision to recall the file means that the entire matter may be looked afresh.

“Since the government has itself amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are in favour of studying the proposed Gujarat law again. If need be, we can even suggest to the Gujarat government to remove clauses that could be susceptible to misuse by the police,” said a source.

The then Home Minister Shivraj Patil had taken the decision to forward the GUJCOC Bill to the President with the recommendation not to sign it with the argument that it had retained four controversial provisions of POTA, including longer detention of accused (180 days), treating confessions made to police as admission of guilt and shifting the onus on proving innocence on to the accused.