Advani favours time bound decisions for Presidential assent

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New Delhi, Sep 3 (UNI) Asserting that the highest levels in the Government have been soft towards the war against terrorism by endlessly delaying Presidential assent, Leader of Opposition L K Advani today favoured amendment in the provisions giving specific time frame for the approval to the laws passed by State Legislatures.

Jointly addressing a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Advani said the bills against terrorists and organised crimes, on the lines of the law existing in Maharashtra, had already been passed by the State Legislatures of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The states could not implement those bills as the President was yet to grant assent to enable their implementation in the states, he said. ''The states feel helpless because of the absence of such law that can be used against terror perpetrators outside the borders of the state,'' Mr Advani and Mr Modi noted.

Mr Advani, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, said there had been several suggestions made in the Inter-State Council meetings, wherein the states wanted a definite answer by the Centre about why such bills had not been granted Presidential approval within a specified period of time. Some even went to the extent of suggesting that there should be 'deemed approval' provision if the bill did not get the approval, Mr Advani added.

He said even the Supreme Court had upheld the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, making the tapped telephone conversations as an admissible evidence for the courts. If such was the case, then there was no fun in delaying the grant of assent endlessly. ''I am sure the terrorists are deriving pleasure out of our predicament and we feel helpless,'' Mr Modi confided.

He said the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill was first passed in 2003 when the NDA government was in power, wherein the Government suggested two amendments to remove certain inconsistancies. The Assembly had incorporated the amendments but after the UPA Government took over, it has been sitting over the bill without taking a decision. ''I feel that there should be a time limit for the Government to take a decision,'' Mr Advani asserted.

He said the BJP had been consistently maintaining that the Congress was soft on terror and the first thing it did was to repeal POTA, which according to him was not stringent enough to fight terror as compared to the anti-teror laws in developed democracies like Britain and USA.

Parliament attack did take place when POTA was in place but the attackers were killed in its precincts even before they could enter, he noted, adding that it would have posed greater danger to democracy if the attackers had succeeded because the cream of leadership would have been wiped out in a single go.

However, the UPA government was yet to take a decision on the mercy petition of the Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal, he lamented.

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