New Delhi: Reacting sharply to the draft of Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill, the BJP on Thursday termed the legislation as “dangerous” and “discriminatory” and apprehended that it is “bound to be misused”.
In an analysis of the draft on Communal Violence Bill issued by the party, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley alleged that the legislation, if implemented, is “bound to be misused as the Bill perceives that communal trouble was created only by the majority communities.”
“No member of the majority community can ever be a victim. This draft law thus proceeds on an assumption which re-defines the offences in a highly discriminatory manner,” he said.
“This draft bill proceeds on a presumption that communal trouble is created only by members of the majority community and never by a member of the minority community. Thus, offences committed by members of the majority community against members of the minority community are punishable. Identical offences committed by minority groups against the majority are not deemed to be offences at all.”
The senior BJP leader added: “I have no doubt that once this law is implemented with the intention with which it is being drafted, it will create disharmony in the inter-community relations in India.”
“It is a law fraught with dangerous consequences. It is bound to be misused,” he said.
The Union Cabinet had cleared the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of victims) Bill to check communal violence.
According to the draft, the national and state authorities will be empowered to take suo motu action to quell communal violence. These bodies will have the power to investigate, call for evidence, search and seize as well as monitor the actions of public servants as well as their postings or transfers in places where communal violence has occurred or is anticipated.
Among other things, the proposed measure provides for enabling the Centre to declare an area in a state as communally disturbed on its own and send central security forces without the state`s request. This was based on the recommendation of the Administrative Reforms Committee. In addition, the Bill provides for transfer of cases outside the state concerned for trial and takes steps to protect witnesses.
“The draft bill ostensibly appears to be a part of an endeavour to prevent and punish communal violence in the country. Though that may be the ostensible object of the proposed law, its real object is to the contrary,” Jaitley said.
Citing more fault-lines in the bill, the senior BJP leader said, “the Bill violates the federal structure of the country. If the proposed bill becomes a law, then effectively it is the central government which would have usurped the jurisdiction of the states and legislated on a subject squarely within the domain of the states,” he said.
With Agency inputs