Gujarat Assembly passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015
Clause 16 of the Bill makes confessions before police officers admissible in Court and it also provides extension of the period of investigation from the stipulated 90 days to 180 days.
The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, 2015 was passed by the Gujarat Assembly on 31 March 2015.
The bill is a re-worked version of the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC), 2003, which was earlier rejected twice by the President. It was rejected in 2004 and 2008 by the then Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil respectively.
Main provisions of the GUJCOC Bill, 2015
• Section 14 of the Bill says that evidence collected through the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication is admissible in the court.
• Section 16 of the Bill makes confessions before police officers admissible in Court.
• Section 20 (2) (b) also provides extension of the period of investigation from the stipulated 90 days to 180 days.
• It makes offences as non-bailable under Clause 20 (4) which states, notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, no person accused of an offence punishable under this Act shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own bond
• It provides immunity to the State government from legal action under Section 25 which states that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the State government or any officer or authority of the State government for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act.
Why the need for GUJCOC, Bill 2015?
• Due to concerns over attempts at cross-border terrorism
• Gujarat’s vulnerable coastline
• The proliferation of criminal gangs
Criticism of the GUJCOC Bill, 2015
The GUJCOC Bill, 2015 was criticised by activists and members of the civil society by terming that it carries draconian provisions. They say that it creates a fear and terror among activists, NGO workers and civil society persons with its stringent provisions.
While the Congress said that the Bill goes against the nationally applicable criminal laws such as the National Security Act, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act. The legislation contradicts the national laws.