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The Rediff Special/ Vicky Nanjappa

How Veerappa Moily wants to fight terror

September 22, 2008

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The intent behind the terror attacks

The Second Admnistrative Reforms Commission headed by Veerappa Moily recently submitted its report on tackling terrorism to the Union government. The report titled Combating Terrorism [Images] -- Protecting by Righteousness states that a comprehensive and effective legal framework to deal with all aspects of terrorism needs to be enacted.

The report also makes various suggestions on how terror activities can be curbed andĀ outlines the specific legal procedure to be adopted to penalise terrorists.

Defining an act of terror

Use of firearms, explosives or any other lethal substance to cause or likely to cause damage to life and property and essential infrastructure which would include installations, establishments having military significance.

Assasination and also assassination bids of public functionaries would also be construed as acts of terror.

The intent should be to threaten the integrity, security and soverignity of India or overawe public functionaries or to terrorise the people of a section of people.

Detention of any person or threatening to kill or injure any person to force the government to act of abstain from acting in a particular manner.

Providing material support including finances for the aforesaid activities.

Commission of certain acts or possession of certain arms etc by members of supporters of terrorists organisations which cause or are likely to cause loss of life, injury to a person or damage to any property.

Bail provisions

No person accused of an offence under this act if in custody shall be released on bail or on his own bond unless the court gives the public prosecutor an opportunity of being heard.

When the public prosecutor opposes the bail application of the accused the person shall not be released on bail until the court is satisfied that there are grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of committing such an offence.

However, after one year from the date of detention of the accused under the act, the provisions of sub section shall apply.

A review committee shall review the cases of all such persons periodically and advise the prosecution about the release of the accused on bail and the prosecution shall be bound by such advise.

Period of detention during investigation

For terrorist and other related offences the provisions of Section 167 of the CrPC shall apply subject to modification that references to 15, 90 and 60 days shall be construed as references to 30 and 90 days.

Confession before a police officer

Confession before a police officer should be made admissible as recommended in the report on Public order. However, this should be doneĀ  only if comprehensive police reforms as suggested by the commission are carried out. Till such time, the confession should continue to be made before judicial magistrates.

Presumptions under the law

If it is proved that the arms and explosives or any other dangerous substance were recovered from the possession of the accused and there is reason to believe that such arms or explosives or other substances of similar nature were used in the commission of the offence, the court shall draw adverse inference against the accused

If it is proved that the accused rendered any financial assistance to a person accused of or reasonably suspected of an offence of terrorism then the court shall draw adverse inference against the accused.

Review committee

A statutory review committee should be constituted to examine each case within 30 days of its registration. The committee should satisfy itself that a prima facie case has been made out by the investigation agency. This committee should review each case every quarter.

Special courts

Special fast track courts exclusively for trial of terrorism related cases should be set up as and when required.

Possession of Arms

A provision to penalise unauthorised possession of certain specified arms and ammunition in notified areas and unauthorised explosive substances, weapons of mass destruction and biological and chemical weapons may be incorporated in the law on terrorism.

Federal agency to investigate terrorist offences

A spcialised division of the Central Bureay of Investigation to investigate terror offences needs to be created. It should be ensured that this division of the CBI is staffed with personenel of proven intergirty and who are professionally competent and have developed the required expertise in investigation of terrorism related offences. The autonomy and independence of this agency may be ensured through a laid down procedure of appointment and assured fixed tenure for its personnel.

Measures against financing of terrorism

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act may be suitably amended to widen its scope. It may be examined whether institutional coordination mechanisms between the Directorate of Enforcement and other intelligence collecting and investigating agencies cold be strengthened.

Measures to block the flow of funds for financing terrorist activities

The new legal framework may incorporate provisions regarding freezing of assets, funds, bank accounts, deposits and cash when there is reasonable suspicion of their intended use in terrorist activities. A specialised cell may be created to act on financial leads in such issues.

Role of citizens and media

A scheme to encourage support institutions, NGOs for promotion of peace should be devised. The feasibility of extending this scheme to religious schools should also be examined.

The potential of the media in spreading education and awareness needs to be tapped to build the capacity of citizens in dealing with any public disorder, particularly terrorist violence.

Media should be encouraged to evolve a self regulating code of conduct to ensure that publicity arising out of terrorist attacks does not help the terrorist in their anti national design.

The Rediff Specials

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