Gujarat Anti-Terror Bill
- 06 Nov 2019
- 3 min read
Why in News
The President of India gave assent to the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, an anti-terror legislation passed by Gujarat in 2015.
- It defines a ‘terrorist act’, as an act committed with the intention to disturb law and order or threaten the unity, integrity, and security of the state.
- It also mentions organized crime which are criminal activities run for a substantial profit.
- It includes economic offences namely, Ponzi schemes, multi-level marketing schemes, and organized betting.
- It also includes extortion, land grabbing, contract killings, cybercrimes, and human trafficking.
- The investigating agencies can intercept telephonic conversations and submit them as legitimate evidence in court.
- However, the approval for interceptions of telephonic conversations will be cleared at the level of additional chief secretary.
- The confessions made before a police officer will also be considered as evidence.
- However, the confessions made to an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) or above would only be admissible in court.
- It provides 180 days’ time for authorities to file a charge sheet instead of the usual 90 days and also proposes stricter conditions for bail.
- It also provides for the creation of a special court as well as the appointment of special public prosecutors.
Controversial Provisions of GCTOC Bill
- The consideration of intercepted telephonic conversations as legitimate evidence is violative of the Right to Privacy (Article 21).
- Also, the consideration of confession made before police officers as evidence is violative of the fundamental rights of an accused (Article 20).
- Article 20(3) of the constitution says that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
- The extension of time for filing the charge sheet has been increased up to 180 days from for 90 days.
- The clause keeps a person under detention for a longer period of time.
- These provisions are on the lines of the Centre’s Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA).
- But arbitrary use of such provisions led to the repulsion of POTA in 2004.
Advantages of the Bill
- Gujarat shares a border with Pakistan, and hence, such legislation is required for better safety and security, especially in a coastal and border state.
- It will give sufficient power to police officials and enhance the security of the state.
- It will also help control cybercrime and narco-terrorism fuelled by terrorist outfits from across the border.