Gujarat terror law: Jaitley says only bills from Cong states got UPA nod
Arun Jaitley at the Idea Exchange on Wednesday.
A day after the Gujarat assembly passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill 2015, which has provisions twice rejected in the past by the President, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attacked the previous UPA government, saying it had cleared similar bills passed by Congress-ruled states but stonewalled those passed by non-Congress state governments.
He said the home ministry will now take a view on the bill.
Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express Wednesday, Jaitley said: “What was the UPA policy? Every UPA government in the state which asked for it, presidential assent was granted. So Maharashtra was granted presidential assent, Karnataka was granted presidential assent, Andhra was granted presidential assent. So much so that by notification, the UPA extended MCOCA to Delhi… states which were run by the UPA, all have the MCOCA-type law. And it has been extended to Delhi also.”
“When Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan asked for it, between the 2003 and 2008 period, they said NDA state governments, we will not grant assent. But to each UPA government, they granted assent,” Jaitley said, adding that the UPA plea was that no presidential assent was being given after a cut-off date.
“Now those state governments which were not given assent are again passing their own bills… how did UPA government grant that presidential assent to Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka and then extended it to Delhi.”
“They (the UPA) had said no to the Gujarat bill twice earlier. Now, Gujarat has again passed it, they will ask for assent. I am sure the home ministry will take a view, whatever they have,” he said.
Jaitley said laws being passed by the states and the central law are “similar but they cover different spaces”.
“One covers crime, an organised crime which is a state subject. The central law covers terrorism. The Supreme Court case was terrorism should also be considered law and order. This is when TADA was challenged. Since terrorism is strictly under law and order, it should be a state subject. The Supreme Court said no, terrorism relates to the sovereignty of India, therefore, it’s a central subject. They linked it to the security of the state and so on.”
He said laws being passed by states don’t relate to terrorism. “It’s a law in states, which relates to organised crime, which is a state subject. Because there are some overlapping provisions, earlier with POTA and now with Unlawful Activities (Prevention ) Act, the state law technically requires central assent.”
Jaitley said while the UPA government deleted a stringent provision relating to bail in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, “by some remarkable legislative exercise” they introduced the same provision in the Companies Act.
“So the Companies Act, part of whose provisions I am trying to get repealed, and I have already got it repealed from Rajya Sabha and it is now pending in Lok Sabha, has verbatim the bail provisions of POTA. If you commit an offence under the Companies Act, those technical offences, the bail provision of POTA will apply. So that’s currently under review,” he said.
Source:: Indian Express