Communal Violence Bill: Rigorous life term, three years jail among key features

Rigorous life term for organised riots, 3 years imprisonment for hate propaganda and transfer of trial to other states are some key features of the communal violence bill drafted by the government.

New Delhi: Rigorous life term for organised riots, three years imprisonment for hate propaganda and transfer of trial to other states are some key features of the communal violence bill drafted by the government.
According to the provisions of the draft `Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013`, whoever commits organised communal violence will be punished with rigorous imprisonment for life and liable to fine.

The offence of hate propaganda will be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or fine or both, while those who are guilty of aiding communal violence financially, materially or in any kind will also get the same punishment.

The draft bill clarified that the hate propaganda includes publication materials, communicates or disseminates by words -- either signs, spoken, written or by electronic means of mass communication against a particular religious and linguistic identity.

It says a public servant guilty of dereliction of duty shall be punished with imprisonment for two years which may extend to five years and shall be liable to fine.

Punishment for threatening witnesses has been fixed an imprisonment up to three years and fine.

The bill says the central government in relation to the Union Territories or the state government may appoint as many designated judges in consultation with the chief justice of the high court concerned.

The draft also envisages to conduct trial of riot cases outside the state if the trial within the state is not likely to be fair or impartial.

The draft communal violence bill says "...If, having
regard to the exigencies of the situation prevailing in a state, the government is of the opinion that it is expedient to appoint additional designated judges outside the state, for trial of such offences specified under sub-section (1), the trial whereof within the state.

"(a) is not likely to be fair or impartial or completed with utmost dispatch; or (b) is not likely to be feasible without occasioning a breach of peace or grave risk to the safety of the accused, the witnesses, the public prosecutor and the judge or any of them; or (c) is not other otherwise in the interests of justice."

The bill says when organised communal violence occurs, the state government shall establish relief camps in safe locations for the internally displaced persons and such relief camps should not be closed unless all internally displaced persons have been voluntarily rehabilitated.

A relief camp established shall continue to be operated by the state government until all internally displaced persons residing in that relief camp return to their original habitations or are settled in a new suitable location.

The bill authorised National Human Rights Commission to issue advisories, make recommendations on communal violence and receive and collect information on any buildup of communal violence, any form of propaganda, mobilisation, occurrence or likely occurrence of communal violence.

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