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Govt returns Gujarat’s anti-terror bill
Says it’s not in line with Central law, seeks 3 changes
Tribune News Service

Govt’s objections to GUJCOCA

  • A proposal to make a confession before a police officer admissible in court
  • A clause preventing a court from granting bail if the public prosecutor opposes it
  • Section 20 (2) of the Act

Other Cabinet decisions

  • Sugar stockpiling ban extended till Jan
  • 9-month extension for Puncchi panel
  • Special aircraft for disaster management support okayed

New Delhi, June 19
The Union Government has returned the controversial anti-terror bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly with the recommendation that without three key amendments it cannot be sent for Presidential assent.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today. The Cabinet has approved the proposal to recommend to the President that Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOCA) Bill may be returned to the state to make three changes before it can be sent to the President for acceptance,” said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, while talking to mediapesons after the meeting.

The Narendra Modi-led BJP government in the state has been demanding early assent to the bill, which is pending with the Centre for more than four years. It is seeking to bring in the anti-terror law on the lines of MCOCA passed in Maharashtra.

The decision to return the bill has been taken to bring it in conformity with the Unlawful Activities Prevention (UAP) Act which was amended by Parliament last year, Chidambaram said. The bill has three provisions which are not in accordance with the UAP Act, he added.

“Under the proposed Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act, a confession before a police officer is admissible in a court. This should be made inadmissible. The act also contains a clause stating that a court cannot grant bail if the public prosecutor opposes it. The court should have the power to grant bail even if the public prosecutor opposes it,” Chidambaram said.

The third amendment is related to Section 20 (2) of the act that the home minister did not specify.

In another decision, the Centre approved the procurement of a special aircraft for Disaster Management Support (DMS) at an estimated cost of over Rs 179 crore. The specially designed aircraft by National Remote Sensing Agency of Department of Space is being procured from Brazilian firm, Embraer. The plane would enhance the capability of undertaking real-time as well as systematic scientific aerial survey operations,” the Home Minister added.

The exclusive aircraft can fly at higher attitudes, avoiding air turbulence regions — normally prevailing during inclement weather — and at higher velocity.

PTI adds: The government has also extended the ban on stockpiling of sugar till January 8 next year to keep rising sugar prices in check and deter black marketing activities.

The Cabinet at a meeting here also decided to extend the decision to remove wheat from the list of commodities on which stock holding limits have been imposed.

In yet another significant development, the commission, headed by Justice MM Punchhi, was set up in 2007 to look into new issues of Centre-state relations, was today given a nine-month extension up to March 31 next year.

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Deliberate move to delay bill: Gujarat

Ahmedabad: Terming the Centre’s decision to return the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOCA) as “unfortunate”, the state government today said it is a “deliberate” attempt to delay the bill.

“States like Gujarat, which shares border with Pakistan and have a vast coastline should have laws that are deterrent, quick and clear in preventing any kind of anti-social and anti-national activity,” state Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.

“It is unfortunate that Central government has returned the Bill after keeping it with them for the last five years. The suggestions for amendments could have been made earlier also,” Vyas said, addign that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the bill. — PTI

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