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2006: Indian Muslim Press Statements
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Muslim Islamic NewsMushawarat proposes amendments on Communal Violence Bill

AIMMM's Proposed Amendments on Communal Violence Bill, 2005 and Letter to Home Minister

 

Shri Shivraj Patil,

Minister of Home Affairs,

Government of India,

20 February, 2006

Dear Shri Patil,

Having discussed the Communal Violence Bill, 2005 at several forums with many knowledgeable and thoughtful persons, we have the honour to submit the attached list of Amendments for your kind consideration.  This letter is to explain the major points of departure from the official draft.

I – The legislation should apply not only to Communal Violence but in accordance with the Congress Manifesto of 2004 to Social or Group Violence in all its forms and manifestations which is indeed reflected in many parts of the Bill.  The word ‘communal’ in the Indian context has come to mean Hindu-Muslim violence.  But there is need to treat all inter-group violence equally and uniformly.  Above all, this will reduce the communal bias in the magistracy and the police force by developing common standards for and uniform approach towards dealing with inter-group or social violence.

II – Joint Responsibility of the Centre and of the States to Curb Group or Social Violence: Both the Central and State Governments in our constitutional system constitute the State and in view of the human as well as international implications of group violence, the Centre has to and does monitor such situation closely.  A socially and politically impartial administration will anticipate the eruption of violence and take necessary measures to prevent it.  If violence does break out, it should be able to control it with 3 days.  If it does not, the State Government should declare the district, or part thereof, as ‘Disturbed Area’ and change the DM and the SP and appoint senior and experienced officers to take their place (and even change the officers-in-charge of the affected Thanas).  If the new team fails to restore peace and normalcy within 7 days, the Central Government should immediately issue special directions under Article 355 to the State Government and offer central paramilitary forces.  If the State Government fails to normalize the situation and violence continues and even spreads to adjacent areas, the Central Government should issue a Proclamation and effectively take over the administration of the disturbed area under Article 352 and appoint a Special Commissioner.  All this falls within the four walls of the Constitution.  To curb violence and anarchy and to protect life, honour and property of the citizens is the raison d’etre of the State and neither the Central nor the State Governments, whatever their political compulsion, should hesitate to act.  This legislation should mandate them to take action, irrespective of political complexion of the Central and State Governments.

III - Impunity:  No one, public servant (or political worker) should enjoy any impunity.  Therefore,  the requirement of prior permission of the government for their prosecution should be dropped to make them accountable for loss of life, property and honour.

IV - Compensation for Loss of Life, Limb, Honour and Property:  Compensation should be delinked from the progress of prosecution and accepted as a duty of the State.

The compensation should be uniform throughout the country.  

In the case of property, it should be based on replacement value or restoration cost.  

The ex-gratia payable to a family all of whose members have been killed should be paid to the voluntary organization engaged in large-scale relief and rehabilitation for their community or locality, e.g., for construction of housing colonies and infra-structure like schools and for establishment of orphanage.  

Ex-gratia should be payable in respect of those reported to be killed but whose bodies have not been found and, therefore, not subjected to post-mortem, after due inquiry for 3 months, on the strength of an indemnity bond by the claimant.  

For each disturbed area, the Government should appoint a Claim Commissioner to receive claims and to make awards in accordance with National/State Guidelines.

V – Question of Punishment:  Group Violence is motivated by hatred and revenge.  Therefore, scheduled violence should be defined as an offence punishable under the IPC and other relevant laws motivated by hatred and revenge.  This will provide the legal justification, as in USA, for the imposition of higher punishment.

VI –  Some Lacunae in the Bill

1.   The Bill is silent on Commission of Inquiry.  An inquiry should be instituted wherever there is substantial loss of life and property.  However, prosecution should proceed in the normal course and the fact of an Inquiry should not be treated as a reason for deferring or slowing prosecution.

2.   Imposition of Punitive Fines - In addition, the imposition of punitive fine in the disturbed area may be considered whose quantum should be such that fine on the members of one side should equal the compensation paid to the other side and vice versa.  

      The former Prime Minister Late Morarji Desai once told me that this will immunize the area against future violence.  

3.   Videography of Speeches and Processions as well as Mob Attacks:  Police should be equipped to videograph any situation likely to be provocative or cause disturbance.

4.   Rehabilitation should mean return of the displaced persons in security and dignity to their homes, to cultivate their land or run their business, as the case may be.

5.         Duties of District Administration during the Build up of Tension should be laid down clearly:

      a)   To identify the focii of potential conflict within the district in advance.

      b)   To endeavour seriously to resolve the conflict of interest and to reconcile opposing interests.

      c)   To detain persons and leaders of organizations engaged in rumour mongering, publishing baseless and exaggerated reports in the press or distributing offensive literature, inciting people through provocative or inflammatory statements or speeches, collecting and distributing arms, preparatory to the eruption of violence.

      d)   To adopt the principle of composite posting of police personnel in all sensitive Thanas.

      e)   To introduce a programme of refresher courses for the training of police personnel in sensitive districts so as to inculcate professionalism so that in any situation, they perform their duty, irrespective of the religion, caste, language or domicile of the hostile groups and do not apply the law selectively.

For your information, I attach a copy of the relevant portion of the recent UK Law on Racial and Religious Hatred which defines Religious Hatred and Acts intended to blow up Religious Hatred.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)

 

_________________________________________________________

 

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat

Proposed  Amendments

to

The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005

1.       Revise Title and           To cover social violence or violence between social groups, in all its

          Section (1):                  forms and manifestations, the Bill should be titled.

                                                The Social Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005.

                                                This implies that throughout the Bill, the word ‘Communal’ should be substituted by the word ‘Social’.

2.       Long Title:                    Should be revised to read:

                                                “To empower the State Governments and the Central Government to take urgent and necessary measures to prevent, contain and control social violence in all its forms and manifestations and to provide for the short-term relief and long-term rehabilitation of the victims and for matters connected therewith.”

3.       Section 1(4):                Should be deleted and the Act should come into force on the same date all over the country (except J&K).

4.       Section 2(1)(b):           The word ‘Communally’ should be replaced by ‘Socially; and the word ‘area’ defined as a district or part of a district i.e. sub-district or block or town or urban ward.  Alternatively, it should be dropped and the term ‘Disturbed Area’ should be used throughout the Bill.

5.       Section 1(c):                Should be substituted by “Social Violence means any act of omission or commission, punishable under the IPC, by an individual or a group of individuals belonging to one social group against an individual or a group of individuals belong to another social group”.

6.       Section 2(1)(e):           The ‘District Council’ means the ‘District Social Peace and Justice Council’ established by the State Government under Sub-section (1) of Section 42.  The purpose of the Council should not be limited to provide relief and rehabilitation or compensate the victims or prosecute the culprits but to establish and oversee lasting social peace in the area.

7.       Section 2(1)(g):           The ‘National Council’ means the ‘National Social Peace and Justice Council’ constituted by the Central Government under Sub-section (1) of Section 45.

8.       Section 2(1)(k):            ‘Relief and Rehabilitation’ includes providing shelter, food, clothing and medical care to the victims of social violence by the District Council as well as other means and measures for the rehabilitation and return of the displaced persons to their homes in security and dignity, as considered necessary by the District Council and provided for in the State Relief and Rehabilitation Plan and National Guidelines.

9.       Section 2(1)(l):             ‘Scheduled Offence’ means an act of Social Violence motivated by hatred or ill-will or revenge.

10.    Section 2(1)(n):            ‘State Council’ means the ‘State Social Peace and Justice Council’, established by the State Government under Section 39.

11.    Section 2(1)(p):           May be omitted.

Chapter II

12.    Section 3(1):                The words ‘of the opinion’ may be substituted by ‘satisfied’.

13.    Section 3(1)(a) & (b):  Substitute by ‘which has resulted in death or dishonour or displacement of persons or destruction of property and the violence has been raging for 3 days’.

14.    Section 3(1)(c):            Substitute the word ‘danger’ by ‘threat’, ‘secular fabric’ by ‘social harmony’ and ‘may’ by ‘shall’.

15.    Section 3(3):                Delete the phrase ‘it shall be lawful’ and substitute the word ‘to’ by ‘shall’.

                                                Add at the end of 3(3): ‘to prevent and control violence in the area’.

16.    Section 3(4):                Substitute ‘one or more officers’ by ‘and depute a senior officer’.  Delete ‘and different competent authorities may be appointed for different provisions of this Act’.

17.    Section 4(1):                Delete

18.    Section 4(2):                Substitute ‘If inter-group violence is not controlled within 7 days, the State government shall request the Central Government to deploy armed forces of the Union to control the situation’.

Chapter III

19.    Section 5(1):                Add before ‘has arisen’ ‘is likely to arise or’.

20.    Section 5(2):                5(3): Renumber as 5(2).

21.    Section 5(3):                Substitute by ‘The Competent Authority shall exercise the powers of the District Magistrate whether he is posted as such or otherwise.

22.    Section 7(1):                Delete ‘communally’.

                                                Proviso: add after ‘individuals’ ‘or social groups which are being targeted in the disturbance’.

23.    Section 9(5):                Add: ‘The Competent Authority shall take full and urgent cognizance of any offence under Section 153A or 153B of the IPC and if any act of misinformation or disinformation or spreading rumours or deliberate misreporting by an individual or an organization comes to his notice, he shall order those concerned to stop such acts and take action against them in accordance with law.’

24.    Section 9(5):                Renumber as 9(6).

25.    Section 17(2):              Delete

Chapter IV

26.    Section 19(1):              Omit ‘on such scale or in such manner which tends to create internal disturbance within any part of the State and threatens the secular fabric, unity, integrity or internal security of the nation’.

27.    Section 19(2):              Substitute ‘scheduled’ for ‘communal’.

28.    Section 19(3):              Add after ‘Government’ ‘or a member of a legislature or Panchayati Raj Institution’.

Chapter V

29.    Section 20(3):              Delete

30.    Section 22(1):              Substitute ‘headed by an officer of the level of an Inspector-General of Police’ by ‘appointed by the Competent Authority consisting of the District or Additional District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police and the District Public Prosecutor’.

31.    Section 22(3):              Substitute ‘Director General of Police’ by ‘the State Government’.

Chapter VI

32.    Section 29:                   Add before ‘person’ the word ‘qualified’ and after ‘Public Prosecutor’, ‘in accordance with law and with the consent of the victims’.

Chapter VII

33.    Section 38:                   Substitute ‘State Communal Disturbance Relief and Rehabilitation Council’ by ‘State Social Peace and Justice Council’.

34.    Section 39(a):              Replace ‘the Chief Secretary’ by ‘Chief Minister’.

                                                Add ‘The Secretary of the Revenue Department’.

35.    Section 39(g):              Add the Chairpersons of State Human Rights Commissions, State Minorities Commission, State SC and ST Commissions, State Women Commissions or the representatives of the corresponding National Commissions, if necessary.

37.    Section 39(i):               Substitute ‘The Joint Secretary to the State’ by ‘The Chief Secretary of the State, Member-Secretary, ex-officio’.

38.    Section 40(1):              Substitute ‘planning relief, including immediate and urgent assistance and rehabilitation measures’ by ‘preparing a state plan for immediate and long-term relief and rehabilitation measures for the victims of social violence.’

39.    Section 40(2)(h):         Delete ‘appropriate’.

40.    Section 40(2)(j):           Delete ‘appropriate’.

41.    Section 40(2)(k):         Delete

42.    Section 40(2)(n):         Delete ‘appropriate’.

43.    Section 40(3):              Substitute ‘The State Council shall formulate its own procedure’.

44.    Section 41(1):              Delete ‘for every state’.

45.    Section 41(2)(i):          Delete ‘including the constitution of District Level Peace Committees’.

46.    Section 42(1):              Substitute ‘District Communal Disturbance Relief and Rehabilitation Council’ by ‘District Social Peace and Justice Council’.

47.    Section 42(2)(e):         Substitute ‘the private’ by ‘local’.

                                                Add after ‘organization’ ‘active in the field of promoting social peace and harmony’.

48.    Section 42(2)(f):          Substitute ‘religious’ by ‘local’.

49.    Section 44(1)(b):         Add (vi):          ‘Arrangements for rehabilitating the displaced persons in their homes in security and dignity’.

50.    Section 44(2):              Substitute ‘Communal Harmony and Prevention of communal violence’ by ‘social Peace and Harmony’.

Chapter VIII

51.    Section 45(1):              Rename ‘National Communal Disturbance Relief and Rehabilitation Council’ as ‘National Social Peace and Justice Council’.

52.    Section 45(2)(i):          Substitute ‘Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs’ by ‘Minister of Home Affairs of the Government of India, ex-officio Chairperson’.

                                                Add, as members, the Chairpersons of the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Scheduled Caste Commission and National Tribes Commission and National Commission for Women’.

53.    Section 45(2)(v):          Substitute ‘other sections of the society’ by ‘voluntary organizations of national eminence’.

54.    Section 45(2)(vi):         Add: ‘Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs – ex-officio Secretary’.

55.    Section 45(3)               Substitute by ‘The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs charged with promotion of Social Harmony and National Integration’.

55.    Section 47(1) & (2):    Substitute by ‘The National Council shall make an annual review of the situation of social violence in the country and formulate and annually update National Guidelines for prevention and control of social violence, for relief and rehabilitation of the victims, for uniform compensation for loss of life, limb, honour and property to be paid and advise all the State Governments accordingly’.

                                                ‘The National Council shall recommend the quantum of central funds to be released for relief, rehabilitation and compensation to the State concerned and monitor its utilization’.

Chapter X

56.    Section 53(1):              Delete and substitute by ‘The State Government shall pay equitable compensation to a victim of social violence, or to his next-of-kin, for loss of life, limb, dignity and property in accordance with National Guidelines’.

57.    Section 53(2):              Delete and substitute by ‘The State Government shall appoint an officer of the rank of District Judge as the Claims Commissioner for each disturbed district to receive, consider and decide the claims of compensation filed by the victims of the social violence in the light of the National Guidelines and State Peace and Harmony Plan’.

58.    Section 53(3):              Delete and substitute by ‘The award by the Claim Commissioner shall be communicated to the District Council for immediate action’.

59.    Section 54:                   May be deleted.

Chapter XI

60.    Section 55(1)(a):         Add at the end ‘in accordance with Article 355 of the Constitution read with Article 256’.

61.    Section 55(1)(b):         Substitute ‘such time as may be specified in the direction’ by ‘and restore harmony within 30 days’.

62.    Section 55(3)(a):         Substitute ‘Issue a Proclamation of Emergency on ground of internal disturbance under Article 352 of the Constitution and issue necessary directions and make appropriate arrangements for the administration of the disturbed area’.

63.    Section 55(3)(b):         Delete ‘on a request having been received from the State Government to do so’.

64.    Section 55(4):              Substitute ‘constitute an authority to be known as Unified Command’ by ‘post a Special Commissioner’.

65.    Section 55(5):              Substitute ‘or any officer nominated by the State Government or the’ by ‘the Special Commissioner, the Competent Authority and the District Magistrate’.

Chapter XII

66.    Section 57(1)&(2):      Delete.

67.    Section 57(3):              Renumber as 57(1).

 

 

 

20 February, 2006                (SYED SHAHABUDDIN)

New Delhi                              PRESIDENT

 

Sd/- Syed Shahabuddin
ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-e-MUSHAWARAT
D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 110 025 Phone: 2632 6780 Fax: 2632 7346
  Email: muslim@del3.vsnl.net.in ; www.mushawarat.com  «

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