The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, in an attempt to curb organised crime in the state has approved a draft to enact a firm law on the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. In a bid to end land and mining mafia and organised crime in the state, UPCOCA according to the law passed can pronounce prison sentences up to seven years and also fine the accused ranging between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. The UPCOCA can be brought into effect in cases like illegal possession of land, cow smuggling, illegal mining, human trafficking, drugs peddling, terrorist acts and others. The bill is expected to be introduced in the Winter session of the assembly, the session commences on Thursday.
The UPCOCA Bill was passed in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, according to reports from the media spokespersons and government spokesperson and Power Minister Srikant Sharma. According to the Indian Express, Sharma said, “The rule of law is the top priority of the government and for this it is essential that those indulging in mafia, goonda activities and disturbing peace in society are identified and a special drive is launched against them…the bill is being brought with this purpose in mind”.
The UPCOCA draft has been approved after discussion with the law enforcement departments for more effective check on organised crimes in the state. According to the law, illegal properties can also be attached to ensure the accused cannot use it during the course of investigation. Also, the provision to attach assets can only be enacted after taking permission from court. A special court will be appointed to hear such cases and the accused can only be charged after taking approval from the concerned Inspector General of Police.
The Bill says that an Organised Crime Control Authority headed by the state’s Principal Secretary will be monitoring the cases. Cases registered under the appeals against the authority’s order will also be heard by a retired judge. The law ensures that the accused booked under the law will not be given any security by the state. However, the opposition has claimed that they will oppose the Bill as already enough laws are there to curb organised crime. According to them, the UPCOCA law will give more room to politicians and student leaders.