Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today assured the Assembly against any misuse of the proposed stringent UPCOC legislation aimed at curbing organised crime and terror, after the opposition parties expressed fears that the “draconian” law may be used to target them and the media. Urging the Opposition to back the bill, he asked if they wanted to support those who were indulging in organised crime by opposing it. “Ever since the day the draft of the bill was approved by the cabinet, I have noticed that the Opposition parties are against it…I can give the guarantee that the BJP has never misused any law and will never do so…we have come to bring development and give security without any bias,” he said.
The chief minister was initiating a discussion on the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crimes (UPCOC) Bill, 2017, drafted on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). “I assure you that no one will misuse it…it has been brought to break the backbone of those who indulge in organised crimes,” he said, adding no one can say that his government has worked with political vendetta in the nine months it has been in power. The chief minister compared the bill with similar laws in Maharashtra and Karnataka and said it will not only bring those who have made crime a trade under the law but will also create terror in their minds.The chief minister said that another bill is on the anvil through which about 20,000 political cases will come to an end.
Though the concerted efforts taken by his government in the past nine months have had a positive impact, a need was felt to bring a law to check those involved in corruption, illegal and immoral acts and were creating anarchy, riots and mafia raj, he said. Tarring the bill as a “black law” and calling it an “undeclared emergency”, Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary referred to an attempt by the then Mayawati government in 2007 which had got a similar bill passed but it failed to get presidential assent. Chaudhary even read the previous speeches of the then BJP members Hukum Singh, now an MP, and MLA Suresh Khanna, who is the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, and stressed that both had opposed the measure expressing fear that it will be used against the opposition parties.
“All rights have been given to the administration and to the police in the bill…the government which had promised to establish Ram Rajya is making provision for capital punishment,” he said and stressed that the basic ethos of the Constitution is that no innocent should be punished.
“I request you against creating a ‘bhasmasur’ (self- destructive demon) …having the feeling of autocracy in a democracy is not good,” Chaudhary said. Apprehending that the bill has provisions that can also be used against the media, Chaudhary alleged that it is an attack on two main pillars of democracy – the legislature and the fourth estate. The Leader of the Opposition alleged that the BJP wanted to remain in power for a longer period of time than the Congress “for which they do not want anyone left to oppose them”.
“They want to conduct the 2019 (Lok Sabha) polls with no rival to challenge them,” he alleged. Chaudhary pressed for sending the bill to the select committee of the House to scrutinise its provisions and urged Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit to get the “draconian” bill withdrawn.
BSP leader Lalji Verma too criticised the bill.