PUCL Bulletin, June 2001

Karnataka Organised Crime Bill will undermine civil liberties

Also see, The appeal

Peoples Union for Civil Liberties - Karnataka in a memorandum signed by eminent intellectuals and legal professionals has appealed to the president Sri. K. R. Narayanan urging him not to give assent to the Karnataka organized crime bill-2000 which has been passed by the Karnataka assembly. It has opined that though the bill aims at curbing the menace of organized crime, it has a damaging mischief undermining the constitutional rights of the citizens. Under the provisions of the bill, 'promotion of insurgency" is included under the organized crime without a definition or a candid explanation. It has been included in the last sentence of the definition of the organized crime though not mentioned in the preamble. It has argued that in the general parlance, insurgency means rising in opposition to a political activity and not an organized crime or punishable offence.

PUCL strongly believes that the political opposition or political agitation in a democracy is an inherent right of the citizens and cannot be treated as an offence. Since the word insurgency is not defined or explained, the law cannot be left to the imagination or the interpretation of the police or the special courts.

PUCL felt the bill has all the possibilities of 'arbitrariness and misuse of power'. Without proper checks and balances it has all the trappings of the notorious TADA.

PUCL has urged the president not to give his assent in the interest of safeguarding the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship which are the are fundamental constitutional rights of citizens.

The appeal has been signed by prof. K. Srinivasan, Prof. K. Ramadas, Prof. K. Sumithrabai, Major General Vombatkere, Dr. HAB. Parpia, Meera Nayak, Vanamala Vishwanath, Prof. Syed Bashir Ahmed, Dr. Ramadasrao, Dr. E. Ratirao. Prof. Muzaffer Assdadi. T.S. Venugopal, P.A. Kumar. Dr. V. Lakshminarayana, Betta Sundara Bhatta, and others. -- Lakshminarayana

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