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Guj assembly rejects Prez suggestion, passes GUJCOC bill again

Last updated on: July 28, 2009 17:20 IST
Rejecting suggestions by President Pratibha Patil to modify Gujarat Control of Organised Crime bill, the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party's government on Tuesday re-introduced the bill which was passed by the state assembly.

The bill was passed unanimously by the ruling party members when the Opposition has been boycotting the assembly proceedings as their demand for debate on the recent hooch tragedy has not been accepted by Speaker Ashok Bhatt.

"The suggestion made by the President should not be approved by the assembly. If we include 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 said while re-introducing the GUJCOC Bill.

"When we first proposed GUJCOC, a law to fight terrorism, Prevention of Terrorism Act was in force, so we had prepared a law to fight organised crime. But now when the POTA has been repealed we do not have specific law to fight terrorism. So, we have introduced the word 'terrorist' and defined terrorists' activity in the bill," Shah added.

The President had, in last June, returned the GUJCOC bill, passed by the state assembly in 2004, after the advice by the Union Cabinet.

While returning the Bill, the President had suggested three changes in it, which the state government has rejected. The President on the Union Cabinet's advice had told the state government to delete Clause 16 of the GUJCOC bill which says a confession made by a person before a police officer shall be admissible in the trial.

The other two changes were in Clause 20(2)(B) and Clause 20 (4). The President had told the state government to bring the provision in line with the provision to Section 43D (2) and Section 43 D (5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008.

"Our constitutional fathers favoured a federal structure for the country in which each state has been given equal rights. Many other states of the country have such bills," Shah said in the assembly.

"It is injustice with Gujarat....the Centre is not approving the bill for the state when Maharashtra already has such a bill," Shah told mediapersons. Shah also said that now the bill will be sent for President's consent once again.

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