Highlights of the Bill
- The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005 provides for (a) prevention and control of communal violence, (b) speedy investigation and trials, and (c) rehabilitation of victims.
- The state government can declare an area as communally disturbed under certain conditions. The district magistrate or the competent authority appointed by the state government can take measures such as regulating assembly, directing persons to deposit their arms, searching premises etc. to control communal violence.
- The Bill provides double the punishment as provided by other existing laws. The state government shall establish special courts to try offences under this law. These courts may direct convicted persons to pay compensation to victims or dependents.
- Communal Disturbance Relief and Rehabilitation Councils will be formed at the national, state and district levels.
- The district council shall pay at least 20 percent of total compensation as immediate compensation to victims.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Bill makes it lawful for the state government to take all measures necessary to control the situation. These could include measures that are currently illegal.
- Most of the provisions pertaining to prevention and control of communal violence are already covered under existing laws. The draft law may prove ineffective if the executive dithers from taking prompt action to control communal violence.
- Given the requirement of prior sanction of the state government to take cognizance of an offence by a public servant and the absence of a chain of command responsibility, any prosecution is unlikely.
- The competent authorities appointed by the state government and the district magistrates have been given the same powers. This could lead to dual authority within an area.
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