The Centre on Friday returned the controversial 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," Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told media-persons in New Delhi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat has been demanding early assent to the Bill, pending with the Centre for more than four years, saying it has been brought on the lines of Maharashtra Control of organised Crime Act passed in Maharashtra. The decision to return the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill has been taken to bring it in conformity with the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act which was amended by Parliament last year, Chidambaram said. "There are three provisions of the Bill which have not been in accordance with the UAP Act as amended by Parliament," he said after a meeting of Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The changes proposed by the Centre include confessions to a police officer, which are admissible under the Bill, should be made inadmissible and allowing courts the power to give bail after hearing the public prosecutor. "The Principles are that we will be able to recommend for the assent of the President of this only after the three provisions are amended to bring in conformity with what Parliament has passed recently, mainly UAP Act...that is as far as cabinet is concerned," Chidambaram said.