In a hard-hitting attack on the proposed bill, Jayalalithaa said that under the garb of preventing communal and targeted violence, the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill was yet another “blatant atttempt” to totally bypass the state governments.
The bill concentrates all powers in the Centre rendering the state governments absolutely powerless and totally at the mercy of the Centre,she said in a strongly-worded statement.
Calling it an “undesirable piece of legislation,”, she said it was being brought in by a Central regime that was running “out of steam and ideas for survival.” The AIADMK chief said it was the “sacred duty” of all those who believed in democracy to oppose it in toto and throw it out “lock, stock and barrel,” at the introduction stage itself.
The bill was aimed at keeping the state governments under the constant threat of dismissal, perhaps because of the Central government’s limited capability to use Article 356 of the Constitution in view of a Supreme Court verdict in this regard, the Chief Minister said.
The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 sought to give “sweeping powers” to the Central government, to the total exclusion of state governments in handling instances of communal and targeted violence, Jayalalithaa said.
She said this vitiated the norms of Centre-state relations envisaged by the Justice Sarkaria Commission. “The Bill appears to be a new ruse to side-step the judicial constraints imposed on the indiscriminate use of Article 356 (to impose President’s rule) against opposition-ruled states by an antagonistic Centre,” Jayalalithaa said. She expressed fears that the Bill, if it became Law, could be misused by politicial parties at the Centre to create a “volatile” situation in an opposition-governed state.
“If the agitators are put down, the state government would be pilloried for stifling dissent. On the other hand, if violence erupts, it can be dubbed as communal or targeted violence and the state government concerned can be dismissed using the sweeping and wholly subjective provisions of the law,” she said.
“This sort of a Catch-22 situation will never be in the interest of a nation on the threshold of being recognised as a super power of the world. This is nothing but an undemocratic and fascist bill which is against and totally repugnant to the basic principles of the constitution,” Jayalalithaa said.
“I also appeal to all right-thinking political parties cutting across political divides, community leaders, thinkers. the free media and the people of this great nation to see the dangers lurking in this Bill and voice their opposition to it in unambiguous terms,” she said.
Slamming various provisions, including terminology and definitions in the proposed Bill, she said their subjective interpretations could lead to misuse, adding, the very purpose of the law is “unstated.” PTI