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Centre rules out Presidential assent to GUJCOC bill

Last updated on: August 01, 2009 18:21 IST
Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday ruled out recommending to the President for assent to the tough Gujarat anti-terror bill which he said was in conflict with the law passed by Parliament.

"If any state comes to the Central government for the assent of the President for a bill which is in conflict with the last expression of the mind of Parliament, how do you expect the Home Minister to consent or recommend assent to that bill? It is simply not possible," Chidambaram told mediapersons when asked to react to the Gujarat assembly passing the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime bill this week without any amendments suggested by the Centre.

The Home Minister said the government has to respect the sentiments expressed by Parliament when it amended the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act last year.

"I have to respect the last expression of the mind of Parliament. The last expression of the mind of Parliament is the amendment carried out in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. That is how Parliament has spoken," he said.

"Parliament has spoken and said confession made before a police officer will not be admissible. Parliament has spoken and said the last word on bail is the magistrate or a court and not the prosecutor. Parliament has spoken and said a person should not be detained without producing before a magistrate beyond a certain period of time. That is the last expression of the minds of Parliament," he said.

The Centre had on June 19 returned the anti-terror bill passed by Gujarat assembly to the state, saying without three key amendments it could not be sent for Presidential assent.

 "The Cabinet has approved the proposal to recommend to the President that the bill may be returned to Gujarat to make three changes before it can be considered for assent," Chidambaram had said.

The changes proposed by the Centre include confessions to a police officer, which are provided for under the Bill, should be made inadmissible as evidence and allowing courts the power to give bail after hearing the public prosecutor.

Rejecting suggestions by the Centre and throwing a challenge at the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, Narendra Modi government had on July 28 passed the bill in the state assembly without any amendment.

 "The suggestions made by the President should not be approved by the assembly. If we include the President's suggestion, GUJCOC Bill will become just another Indian Penal Code which is no good for Gujarat which shares its land and sea borders with neighbouring country Pakistan," Minister of State for Home Amit Shah had said.

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