By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 27, 2018 6:46 pm
Uttar Pradesh Assembly passes UPCOC Bill amid Opposition walkout
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the UPCOC Bill will put a halt to organised crime in a vast state like Uttar Pradesh. (Source: Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed a hotly debated Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB) on Tuesday, even as the Opposition members staged a walkout alleging that it was a “draconian” legislation. This comes weeks after the Bill had hit a roadblock in the Legislative Council (upper house), where the Opposition is in majority.
The Bill, which seeks to curb organised crime and deal strictly with those trying to foment terror, had to be re-introduced in the assembly today as it could not be passed in the Legislative Council on March 13. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly on December 21, 2017.
The opposition members called it a ‘black law’ and “undeclared Emergency” while alleging that the bill has been brought to crush the voice of politicians, farmers, social workers and journalists and said it was against the constitutional right of freedom of expression.
The proposed legislation is on the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Piloting the bill, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said it will put a halt to organised crime in a vast state like Uttar Pradesh.
The state government will also establish a special force and UPCOCA courts to expedite the hearing of cases filed under the provisions of the new law. The state home secretary will personally monitor cases lodged under UPCOCA.
Here are the 10 salient features of UPCOC Bill:
# The Bill seeks to curb organised crime and deal strictly with those trying to foment terror or dislodge the government forcibly or through violent means.
# The UPCOC Bill, 2017, also seeks to act sternly against those using explosives or firearms or any other violent means or damaging life and property or involved in anti-national or destructive activities.
# Kidnapping, illegal mining, manufacturing and sale of illicit liquor, acquiring contracts on the basis of muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife and fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties and extortion will come under the ambit of the new law.
# The bill will give more teeth to law enforcement agencies to control organised crime like land and mining mafia, kidnapping industry and crime syndicates in the state as well as to break the politician-criminal nexus.
# The Bill also proposes that properties amassed through organised crime will be taken over by the government with the permission of the court during the course of the investigation. The property will be confiscated by the state government after conviction.
# The UPCOC Bill also envisages special power to the police, to break the nexus between criminals and politicians. In a big relief to investigators, it proposes to extend the period of filing charge sheets from 90 days to 180 days.
# It provides for punishments from minimum three years’ imprisonment to capital punishment. The provision of capital punishment will also extend to those involved in illicit liquor trade. The draft Bill also provides for fines ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
# To prevent possible misuse of the law, the bill says UPCOCA can be slapped only after the recommendation of a commissioner or IG-rank officials.
# To check the misuse of the law, cases under it will be filed only on the recommendations of the committee of the divisional commissioner and range DIG.
# In course of the discussion, Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary voiced concern that the measure could be misused by a ruling dispensation against political opponents.