Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015 - Criticisms
Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015 – Criticisms
Question - Terrorism is the biggest threat to the security of any nation in present times. Discuss the criticisms of the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015.
The Gujarat Assembly has passed the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015 which has been rejected twice by the President previously
Provisions of this bill are a reworked version of the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC), 2003.
Criticisms of the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015
• Activists have termed the Bill as a draconian legislation specifically the provision that there is no bail and period of probe is lengthened meaning the person can be detained for 180 days merely on the basis of phone records. The bill allows custody of accused for 180 days rather than 90 days as per normal law.
• The bill has also been criticised as resembling other stringent anti-terror laws such as Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act/TADA and Prevention of Terrorism Act/POTA
• Bill is modelled on the MCOCA/Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act; it has also been in force in Delhi since 2002
• A strong criticism has also been made regarding these legislations is that regular processes as indicated on the Code of Criminal Procedure is not adequate to deal with threats to internal security
• UPA has criticised the bill has indicating that it is in inconsonance with the policy on terror laws as mentioned in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
• The draconian provisions of this bill centre around Clause 16 which holds that confessions made by persons before a police officer not below the rank of Police Superintendent will be admissible in trials of the accused/co-accused/abettor or conspirator
• Legislation also makes offences under the bill non bailable. Clause 20(4) of the Bill indicated that no person accused of offences under the act should be released on either bail or his own bond
• The Bill has also made evidence obtained through wire, electronic or oral communication admissible in the court of law; this has also been criticised as draconian by activists
• Moreover, the Bill also provides immunity from legal action to the State as Clause 25 of the Bill indicates that no suit, prosecution or legal proceedings shall lie against state government or officer of authority of the same in pursuance of the act
Facts and Stats
• The GUJCOC Bill was first introduced in 2003 under the Modi government
• This Bill contains the same clauses as the GUJCOC bill while increasing the period to file a charge sheet from 90 to 180 days
• Strict conditions have also been laid down for bail to the accused
• Bill was passed twice by the State Assembly under the CM at that time
• Both times, the then Presidents refused assent
• The Bill is currently awaiting the consent of the President