UP assembly passes anti-crime Bill for second time; SP walks out

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Lucknow, Feb 13 (UNI) Amid tough opposition from the Samajwadi Party and a noisy walkout, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly today, for the second time, passed the controversial Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill(UPCOCB) even as the bill was still pending with the upper house.

Opposing the Bill, SP member Ambika Choudhury said the Act would target political opponents of the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) and alleged that those even supporting the bill would not be spared in the future.

He said when the bill was pending before the select committee of the Upper house then there was no need for the Mayawati government to pass in the Lower house again.

Mr Choudhury said though there was no need for such an Act, even if the government persisted, it should at least incorporate 75 amendments suggested by the Legislative Council.

On February 8, the state government had informed the state Assembly about the delay on part of the Upper House to pass the UPCOCB and had indicated its plans to move a resolution to turn it into an Act, much to the chagrin of the Opposition Samajwadi Party.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma said since the legislation passed by the Assembly was pending with the legislative council for over three months, the government was forced to move the resolution again in the assembly to convert the bill into an Act.

The SP members protested the move and termed it as an attempt to interfere with the working of the Upper House.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister wondered why some members were worried about the proposed Act as it was aimed at organised crime and not any particular caste or religion.

On November 5, 2007, the Assembly had passed the bill. It had been lying with the council since November 6. The council, where the ruling BSP is in a minority, had sent the bill to a select committee twice.

The UPCOCA has been designed on the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999, giving additional powers to the state to curb organised crime.

While introducing the bill on October 31, 2007, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati had said the proposed legislation would primarily deal with contract killers, kidnappers, gun-totting contractors, hawala traders, enemies of economic structure, fake drug traffickers and liquor mafiosi.

It was passed on November 5 by a voice vote. However, in the Legislative Council where the ruling BSP is in minority, the bill could not be passed due to strong opposition from the Samajwadi Party. The Bill was sent to the Legislative Council's select committee for consideration on November 6.

As per the rule, the bill would again be tabled in the Assembly and passed. After that, it would be sent to the Governor for approval. The select committee, which till date has held two meetings, has not yet taken any decision on the bill.


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