New Gujarat anti-terror law to come into force from today

PTI

FILE: President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

FILE: President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

A controversial Gujarat anti-terror law, which recognises intercepted telephonic conversations as a legitimate evidence among other provisions, will come into force from December 1.

Earlier this month, President Ram Nath Kovind had given his assent to the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Act, which had thrice failed to get the nod of his predecessors since 2004.

The controversial legislation, passed by the BJP-ruled state in March 2015, was formulated to deal with terrorism and organised crime such as contract killing, ponzi schemes, narcotics trade, extortion rackets, cyber crime, land-grabbing and human trafficking.

Talking to reporters, Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, said, “We will start the implementation of the GCTOC Act from December 1. A notification in this regard will be issued soon.”

“The provisions of the Act will prove crucial in dealing with terrorism and organised crimes, such as contract killing, ponzi schemes, narcotics trade and extortion
rackets,” he said.

The Act allows to consider intercepted telephonic conversations as a legitimate evidence. Other key provision is admissibility of confession made before a police officer as evidence.

The bill, earlier named as the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, had failed to get the Presidential nod thrice since 2004 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state.

In 2015, the BJP government in the state re-introduced the bill by renaming it as the GCTOC, but retained the controversial provisions like empowering the police to tap telephonic conversations and submit them in court as evidence.

According to Jadeja, the legislation also provides for creation of a special court as well as appointment of special public prosecutors.

“We can now attach properties acquired through organised crimes. We can also cancel transfer of properties. Other provisions of the Act is admissibility of confession made before a police officer as evidence,” the minister said.

(PTI)