Gujarat governor urged not to okay anti terrorism bill

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) A memorandum submitted by the congress to the governor on Monday said that some of the provisions of the stringent anti-terrorism Bill violated fundamental rights of citizens as well as the Indian Telegraph Act.


Ahmedabad — The opposition Congress in Bharatiya Janata party-ruled Gujarat has urged governor not to give his approval to the controversial Gujarat Control of terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015 (GUJCTOC) passed by the legislative assembly last week.

However sources told Khaleej Times that O P Kohli who was appointed as the Gujarat governor within weeks of the Narendra Modi government coming to power at the centre would soon sign on the dotted line.

A memorandum submitted by the Congress to the governor on Monday said that some of the provisions of the stringent anti-terrorism Bill violated fundamental rights of citizens as well as the Indian Telegraph Act.

Shankersinh Vaghela leader of the opposition in the 182-member House who led his partymen to the Raj Bhavan said that the government of India’s Unlawful Activity Amendment Act-2004 introduced after repealing POTA was enough to fight terrorism.

The bill which gives powers to the police to intercept and record telephonic conversations and submit them in a court of law as evidence has stirred up a hornet’s nest in the state what with human rights organisations forming an umbrella body to plan massive protests against the legislation.

The assembly in which the BJP has a commanding majority had last week passed the anti-terror bill ignoring its rejection by past Presidents and despite protests by Congress lawmakers and human rights activists.

The bill a brainchild of Prime Minister Modi when he was the Gujarat CM was earlier called the Gujarat Control of Organised Bill and was designed on the lines of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Gujarat High Court advocate Iqbal Masud Khan told Khaleej Times that the new law would enable police to torture or coerce suspects into making confessions which would later be used against them in a court of law.

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said the bill had many provisions similar to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 (POTA) which was later repealed after it was grossly abused.

Babubhai Prajapati political columnist and Gujarat Journalists’ Union president also said that a state legislation came to the centre for approval only if the governor felt that the Bill passed by the assembly was in violation of federal laws or policy.

Under Article 200 of the constitution he said the governor had the powers to give assent to the bill withhold assent or refer the bill to the president.

The centre had succeeded in stalling previous attempts by the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi to enact the anti-terror law since the UPA government-appointed governor would refer legislations to the centre at the slightest provocation.

Prajapati said that though he opposed the bill the centre would find it easy to reverse its stand and had already done so in case of the Maharashtra ban on cow slaughter.

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