Saturday, July 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NHRC rejects govt defence on PoT Bill
Tribune News Service and agencies

NEW DELHI, July 14 — The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today rejected the government defence on a draft Bill on the lines of TADA and categorically said “there was no need to enact such a law.”

The full commission met here, a day after the government defended the draft Prevention of Terrorism (PoT) Bill, and said “the needed solution can be found under the existing laws, if properly enforced and implemented, and amended, if necessary.”

“The proposed Bill, if enacted would have the ill-effect of providing unintentionally a strong weapon capable of gross misuse and violation of human rights which must be avoided particularly in view of the experience of misuse in the recent past of TADA and earlier of MISA of the Emergency days,” the NHRC said in its reaction.

The government had said yesterday that the proposed law “strikes a very nice balance” between the requirements of combating terrorism and protecting the essential human rights of the accused in response to NHRC’s earlier rejection of the proposed move.

The PoT Bill as recommended by the Law Commission was at a draft stage and the government was trying to evolve a consensus through consultations with states and union territories and all political parties before presenting it to Parliament, a Home Ministry spokesman had said.

The commission regretted “its inability to agree with the opinion of the Law Commission in its report and recommends that a new law based on the draft PoT be not enacted.

“Such a course is consistent with our country’s determination to combat and triumph over terrorism in a manner also consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights,” the NHRC said.

In its observations on existing laws in the country, the commission said “apart from the Indian Penal Code, there was the Arms Act, 1959, Explosive Act, Explosive Substances Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the last which gives powers to the armed forces in disturbed areas to use force even leading to death against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order.”

“But there does not appear to be any need to have a separate new Bill for the purpose of creating new offences,” it said.

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