The Centre has given green signal to the enactment of a controversial antiterrorism legislation passed by Gujarat that was earlier thrice rejected by its predecessor United Progressive Alliance.
The home ministry has cleared the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015 -which has been pending since Modi first introduced it in 2001 as Gujarat Chief Minister and sent it to the President’s secretariat. On receiving President’s assent, it will become law.
The legislation aims at fostering for the safety and security of the residents of Gujarat which shares its border with Pakistan.
The home ministry’s recommendations are usually accepted by the President. However, the President can seek clarifications on certain contentious clauses before giving his assent or rejecting the bill. Earlier, the bill was rejected by President Pratibha Patil and APJ Abdul Kalam on the grounds of constitutional validity.
The Gujarat government quoted the subjects mentioned in the `concurrent list’ under which the Centre and the state have powers for formulating `criminal law’ and criminal procedure’ in a reply to the home ministry.
The bill contains provisions for making the evidence collected through interception of wires and electronic or oral communication admissible in court. The Centre has okayed the provision of extensions of time limit for filing of charge sheet from 90 days to 180 days after consultation with other union ministries.
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had sent the amended bill to the Centre in March, after following which the home ministry started inter ministerial consultations. This was the fourth time that the state government sent the bill to the Centre, seeking the President’s assent.