I can`t pilot GUJCOC Bill, says Chidambaram
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Last Updated: Monday, February 08, 2010, 00:03
New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said he could not pilot the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill as "present mind of Parliament was opposed" to its provisions, similar to that of POTA, which has been repealed.

"Confession to a police officer are inadmissible. The parliament no longer approves a confession before a police officer. Similarly, Parliament no longer approves the idea that the public prosecutor's work must have greater weight than the judge's decision," he said.

Chidambaram said, "Parliament no longer approves that a person should be held without bail and without chargesheet for a longer period than the period stipulated in the CrPC".

"The present mind of Parliament was opposed to these three provisions. Therefore, how can I as Home Minister pilot a Bill which was passed by Parliament which does not have these three provisions," he said in a press briefing after Chief Ministers' Conference on Internal Security.

"They were specifically dropped from the law. They are no longer in the statute book and then recommend to the President a Bill which has these three provisions. I have to reflect the expression on mind of Parliament and I am reflecting the mind as last expressed by Parliament," he said.

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today made a strong pitch for sanctioning the Bill, saying lack of adequate legal provisions was the "biggest" issue concerning internal security.

Chidambaram said, "With great respect to Narendra Modi, I said it before, I want to say again the Government of India and therefore the President of India can assent to a Bill which reflects the last expression of the mind of Parliament. When the Maharashtra Bill was assented to the last expression of the mind of Parliament was POTA, that was repealed".

In a recent move, the Home Ministry has recommended to President Pratibha Patil not to sign the GUJCOC Bill which was passed by the Gujarat Assembly for the fourth time on July 28 last year after some changes.

Modi also raised the issue of the Mumbai terror attacks and said its not only important that the country is strong but also "perceived to be strong" by subversive elements within and outside India.

Addressing the chief ministers' conference on internal security here, Modi said investigation of offences related to Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) should be dropped from the ambit of CBI and wondered why the consensus of the state government is being sought to hand over FICN related cases to the central investigating agency.

"The National Investigation Agency Act 2008 provides for powers of taking over investigation of FICN related offences.

"So, why should there be a need for asking the general consent of state government for CBI to investigate FICN offences," he questioned.

Later speaking to reporters, Modi said, "This is an attempt by the Centre to wriggle in the CBI from behind into the states."

Taking on the Centre on the issue of National Investigation Agency, Modi said founding fathers of the Constitution had a long-term vision when they had kept law and order as a state subject and that "tinkering" with it would not be allowed.

He said if the Centre thought that present scheme of distribution of powers between the Centre and the states needs revisiting, "then the issue may be looked into totality beginning with the present structure of the Constitution and we will participate in those discussions."

On the issue of dossiers being supplied to Pakistan and on the involvement of people and state agencies of that country in the Mumbai terror attacks, he said the time was ripe to built inherent strength and institutional mechanisms so as not to be dependent on external forces for bringing perpetrators of crime within Indian territory to book.

He said to be successful in this objective, it is important that not only the country is strong but also "perceived to be strong" by subversive elements within and outside India.

He said the threats to internal security by organised crime and terrorism among others, is required to be confronted with strong resolve which should not be limited to physically strengthening the law enforcement mechanism.


First Published: Monday, February 08, 2010, 00:03

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