The Yogi Adityanath government's much-debated Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB), 2017 was passed in the state assembly through a voice vote on Tuesday. Opposition parties staged a walkout in protest after the bill was reintroduced in the Assembly.
The Yogi Adityanath government’s much-debated Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB), 2017 was passed in the state assembly through a voice vote on Tuesday. Opposition parties staged a walkout in protest after the bill was reintroduced in the Assembly. The opposition parties claimed that the bill was “undeclared emergency”. Rejecting the allegations, CM Adityanath asserted that the Opposition was raising questions over the Bill as they were sympathetic towards criminals instead of the common man.
What is Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB)
On the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB) aims at curbing organised crime and dealing strictly with those trying to foment terror or dislodge the government forcibly or through violent means. The UPCOCA also envisages 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.
With an aim to break the nexus between criminals and politicians, the draft law envisages special powers to the police. In a big relief to investigators, it proposes to extend the period of filing charge sheets from 90 days to 180 days. The law provides for punishments ranging from a minimum of three years’ imprisonment to capital punishment. The provision of capital punishment will also extend to those involved in illicit liquor trade. The Act also provides for fines ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
What Yogi Adityanath government says
According to the UP government, the increase in the ambit of crime in the state necessitated such a law to be put in place. CM Adityanath said, “Considering the way comments were made on public representatives in Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the biggest states, considering how the state’s boundaries touch those of other states and countries, and for the security of people of this state, the need for such a law was felt.”
The government said kidnapping, illegal mining, manufacturing, sale of illicit liquor, trade in wildlife and fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties and extortion will come under the ambit of the new law. UPCOCA will give more teeth to law enforcement agencies to control organised crime like land and mining mafia, kidnapping industry and crime syndicates. Under the law, properties amassed through organised crime will be taken over by the government with the permission of the court.
Opposition MLAs have called the legislation “draconian”. The Opposition has also called this as “kala kanoon (black law), anti-Constitution, anti-democracy, anti-journalists as well as anti-MLAs”. Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary has raised concern that the law could be misused by a ruling dispensation against political opponents. BSP’s Lalji Verma dubbed the measure as anti-democratic and expressed fears that it might be misused to settle political scores and even journalists could be trapped in the new law to gag the freedom of press. Ajay Kumar Lallu of Congress termed the proposed legislation as draconian and demanded it be referred to the select committee of the House for scrutiny.