The Centre on Thursday withdrew the controversial anti-terror law, Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) after President Pranab Mukherjee refused to grant assent to it.The law was passed in the Gujarat Assembly in March 2015, amid strong opposition by the Congress party MLAs who attacked several of its contentious provisions and also by civil rights activists for giving draconian powers to the law enforcement agencies.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to sources, President raised questions on several of its contentious provisions as they overrode provisions of the central laws on terror.According to Union home ministry spokesperson, A K Dhatwalia, home ministry will provide additional information on the bill to the President after getting it from the Gujarat government.The bill gives overriding powers to the police to tap phones and present the recordings as evidence admissible in the court. It also enables the police to produce confessions made to the senior police before the court. Moreover, the investigation period before filing a chargesheet was doubled in the GCTOC bill from 90 to 180 days.The bill was originally brought in by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat as Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC) but was rejected twice by the President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam then because of having similar contentious provisions.The rechristened bill passed during the budget session of the state assembly on March 30 last year was given nod by the union home ministry in September but was opposed by the Congress MLAs from Gujarat soon after in a representation given to President Mukherjee.Some of the contentious provisions of the GCTOC are:Sector 4 that says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, no person accused of an offence punishable under this Act shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own bond.”This means that merely on the basis of accusations could be detained for as many as 180 days without even framing charges against him.Section 16 gives unprecedented powers to the police as it says, “a confession made by a person before a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police…shall be admissible in the trial of such accused, co-accused, abettor or conspirator.”This means that an arrested person will find no relief from the court if police is able to extract statements from him, even using torture, that implicate him or her.Similarly, Section 14 says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in the code or in any other law which is in force, the evidence collected through the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication under the provisions of any other law shall be admissible as evidence against the accused in the court during the trial of the case.”Section another controversial section 20 says, the stipulated time to complete probe and file the charge-sheet can be exceeded to 180 days (six months) from the current stipulated time of 90 days.

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President returns Gujarat’s contentious anti-terror law