I can`t pilot GUJCOC Bill, says Chidambaram

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 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repealed.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of the mind of Parliament was POTA, that was repealed".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.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 00:03

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