This Bill GCTOC is synthesis of GUJCOC and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act/TADA and Prevention of Terrorism Act/POTA and is modelled on the MCOCA/Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act; it has also been in force in Delhi since 2002. The bill is in not in consonance with the policy on terror laws as mentioned in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Introducing the bill for the fourth time in 12 years, with a new name, Gujarat minister of state for home Rajnikant Patel said it "is aimed at combating terrorism and organised crime, it seeks to empower law-enforcing authorities to intercept and record phone calls as evidence, putting the onus of innocence on an accused".
Patel, who tabled the GCTOC Bill, argued that the legislation was required for the safety and security of the residents of Gujarat, which shares its border with Pakistan. “Pakistan cannot win the war against India. We all know about terrorist activities in Pakistan. To protect every single citizen from the bullet of terrorists, we need to strengthen the law,” he said.
We would like to reiterate that the earlier versions having been rejected by the then Governor, the then President of India in 2004, 2008 and 2009, respectively. We would like to mention here that total 11,916 were arrested under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act from 2009 to 2014 in the state of Gujarat. More than 10,000 were acquitted by the Court and PASA board. It shows the misuse of PASA politically in the state.
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.
- It allows evidence collected through the "interception of wire, electronic or oral communication” admissible in the court against accused
- It allows for the period of investigation to be extended to 180 days so that the police have more time to keep an accused in custody
- 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 .
- It prevents an accused from getting bail while in custody. 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
As a matter of fact the Code of Criminal Procedure is adequate enough to deal with the internal security. So there is no need to enact GCTOC.
If this Bill is made an act there will be mockery of democracy in Gujarat. An undeclared emergency like situation will scare the people of Gujarat.
This Bill is aimed to gag the voice of people of the state who are anguished because of the Land Acquisition Act, Anti-labour laws, rising corruptions exposed in recently tabled CAG Report in Gujarat Assembly and growing unemployment and insecurities of the people.
This Bill, if signed by you, will be a death knell to democracy.