The Goondas Act provides for preventive detention of certain types of offenders such as bootleggers, goondas and immoral traffic offenders whose activities have the potential to affect the public order for one year and the amendments are aimed at checking such crimes.
The assembly passed two amendments to the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Forest-offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic offenders, Sand-offenders, Slum-grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982, popularly known as Goondas Act, bringing even first time sexual offenders and cyber crimes under its ambit.
Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Natham R Viswanathan, who moved the bills for consideration and passing, allayed opposition apprehension that the amendment that brought first time offenders under the law could be misused. Opposition members wanted the government to retain the existing provision of "habitual" offenders.
Explaining the need for amending the act to include first time offenders, the bill said: "There are instances where a single act has the potential to disrupt public order and therefore it will not be meaningful to wait for habitual commission of offences by a person before resorting to preventive detention."
Recently the state witnessed a sexual assault on two minor girls staying in a private stay home, which evoked condemnation and calls for stern punishment to the accused. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had also promised to amend the Goondas Act to bring such offenders under its ambit as part of her 13-point action plan to ensure the protection of women.