Communal Violence Bill heading for cold storage?
New Delhi: The controversial Communal Violence Bill, which aims to protect minorities from targeted attack, is unlikely to be passed during the UPA-II rule with the Law Ministry raising objections to its draft and the Home Ministry mulling further consultations with state governments. Raising objections to certain clauses, the Law Ministry has returned to the Home Ministry the draft bill which 'largely sticks' to the provisions in the 'Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011' prepared by Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council.
The bill proposes to impose duties on the central and the state governments and their officers to exercise their powers in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner to prevent and control targeted violence, including mass violence against religious or linguistic minorities, SCs and STs. The bill also proposes constitution of a body National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation by the Centre to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.
The Law Ministry is said to have favoured further strengthening of the provisions of the bill and without any infringement on the powers vested on the state governments. "We have to have more consultations. More discussions are also required with the state governments which are the major stakeholders in any disturbing situation," a senior Home Ministry official told PTI.
Home Ministry officials feel that the consultation process may take months as most of the non-Congress state governments are vehemently opposed to many provisions of the bill. The BJP has strongly opposed the proposed legislation and termed it as "dangerous", saying it will harm the federal structure of the Constitution. It has also questioned how the bill could presume that the majority community is always responsible for riots.