President advised to return Gujarat anti-terror act (Lead)

June 19th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil has been advised to return Gujarat’s controversial anti-terror act, the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act, to incorporate three amendments before it can be ratified, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday.
“The matter came to the cabinet. It was decided to advise the president to return the act for making three amendments,” Chidambaram told reporters here after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Under the proposed Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act, a confession before a police officer is admissible in a court. This should be made inadmissible,” the home minister said.

“The act also contains a clause stating that a court cannot grant bail if the public prosecutor opposes it. The court should have the power to grant bail even if the public prosecutor opposes it,” Chidambaram said.

The third amendment related to section 20 (2) of the act that the home minister did not specify.

“Once these amendments are effected, the cabinet will be in a position to recommend to the president to grant assent to the act,” Chidambaram said.

The issue has been pending for some two-and-a-half years since the Gujarat assembly passed the act.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has accused the centre of not playing fair, pointing out that a similar act is is place in neighbouring Maharashtra.

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