The Gujarat Anti-terror Bill was rejected by the President Pranab Mukherjee recently. It made him third President to do so. Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organized Crime Act (GCTOC) has been pending for approval since a decade now. The President demanded additional information from the state as some provisions in the act are not in line with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004.
This controversial legislation was first created by the Narendra Modi in 2003 when he was Chief Minister of the state. The two presidents rejected the bill over few controversial provisions which are still part of the bill according to the press reports.
The government of this state in western India has again sent the bill for approval without any amendments. The period to file charge sheet remains 180 days along with many restrictions to obtain a bail for the accused. Back in 2004, President APJ Abdul Kalam refused to sign the dotted line because of provisions for intercepting communications.
Kalam demanded removal of clauses which allow tapping phones and using confessions at police station as evidence in the court of law. After that, the bill was again sent to President Pratibha Patil in 2008. Patil didn’t sign the bill and asked for changes in provisions related to using confessions as evidence.
The Gujarat Assembly now sent the bill to the Centre for the third time after it was passed in March last year, only to get rejected by the President of India again. The GCTOC bill has been already criticized by the activists as it is vulnerable for misuse.
All parties other than BJP have said that the bill violates right to freedom given by constitution. The state branch of BJP maintains that it will continue to fight terror and organized crime through such laws. The future of Gujarat Anti-terror bill remains in dark as there has been no response from the Gujarat government since President Pranab Mukherjee rejected it.