New Delhi: As the government
prepared to table a bill to check communal violence in parliament,
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed some of the legislation's
provisions while the Left parties said they would wait to see if
their suggestions had been incorporated in the proposed law.
"We have not seen
the contents of the bill and will give a detailed reaction later.
However, from what we have come to know, some of its provisions may
constitute a serious encroachment on the federal nature of the
Constitution," BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
He said that
states have the powers to make laws to deal with a law and order
situation and there was dispute over legislative competence of the
central government to deal with such a situation.
The union cabinet
Thursday cleared the re-drafted Communal Violence (Prevention,
Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill for introduction in
decision comes a week after the government tabled the Action Taken
Report (ATR) on the Liberhan Commission report on the 1992 Babri
Masjid demolition. The ATR promised that the government will bring
the bill soon.
clause in the legislation allows the central government to declare
an area in a state as "communally disturbed", giving it leeway to
put a state government under a scanner.
stipulates three years' imprisonment for violation of section 144 of
the Criminal Procedure Code - illegal assembly of more than five
persons at a time and at a place - in a communally disturbed area.
Standing Committee, scrutinising the bill, had raised certain
queries stalling the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's
plan to introduce the legislation in 2005.
A section in the
bill which empowers the central government to send forces to
communally disturbed areas was also a bone of contention. Almost all
political parties, including the Left, had expressed reservation
about this provision.
MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said the BJP will oppose any move that
aims at intruding into the states' domain.
"Law and order is
a state subject. It should be left with the state government to deal
with. Communal violence should be stopped but without interfering in
states' affairs," he told IANS.
Left parties are
waiting to read the draft before drawing up their policy response on
whether or not to oppose the bill.
"Let them table
it. The cabinet, I am told, has cleared it. As of now, my party
won't be able to comment as we have not read the new draft,"
Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha member D. Raja told IANS.
He said the bill
is not new but the Left parties would study if the government has
accepted the recommendations of the standing committee over some
"It is not a new
bill. Let's see what they have accepted and rejected. We had raised
our dissent over some controversial clauses. We have to see if our
reservations have been accommodated," Raja said.