Gujarat’s controversial anti-terror bill withdrawn by Home Ministry

NEW DELHI: The controversial anti-terror bill passed by Gujarat State assembly has been has been withdrawn by Home Ministry after it was sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for approval. The law was passed in the Gujarat Assembly in March 2015 despite opposition.

The Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, which was earlier returned by the President thrice to the state government for reconsideration, was passed by a majority vote amid stiff resistance from Opposition Congress, which walked out of the House over its controversial provisions.

The contentious provisions of the bill included admissibility of evidence collected through telephonic interception and confession made before police officer as evidence in court.
Also read- Decoded: Gujarat’s ‘controversial’ anti-terror bill
Section 14 of the Bill said, “Notwithstanding anything contained in the code or in any other law which is in force, the evidence collected through the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication under the provisions of any other law shall be admissible as evidence against the accused in the court during the trial of the case.”
According to Section 16 of the Bill, accused’s statement before a police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of police, will be treated as an evidence. While, Section 20 (2) (b) said stipulated time to complete probe and file the chargesheet can be exceeded to 180 days (six months) from the current stipulated time of 90 days.
Another controversial provision under the bill is section 20 (4), which reads “no accused person in this act shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless the public prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application, the special court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accused is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.”

The cases under the act can be tried only in a special courts set up for this purpose.