Now-a-days, in the present situation, in this country, Sections 121, 124 and the other related Sections would look like very innocent provisions in the Act. Herein, I would like to pick holes in the statement of Shri Banatwalla; I hope, he would not mind it. He gave the instance of a shepherd and a lady who gave water to the terrorists. The Act itself has been very clear. Sections 109 to 114 of the Indian Penal Code are very innocent Sections that deal with abetment. But here, it has been said that if you aid or abet a terrorist, then one would be liable. Why? It is again a question of coping up with the problems. In coping up with the problems, intentions may not be relevant. Kindly mark my words, Mr. Chairman, Sir, again, I repeat, "in coping up with problems, intentions may not be relevant." It may be relevant at that particular moment, when an officer is taking action. It may not sound proper, when the designated court sits to take stock of the situation. It may not sound proper, when the media starts writing against these officers. As a police officer, I know how difficult it is to cope up with the problems where you come immediately and take a decision.
He cited other examples, and I will cite one example of NSA. It had been newly introduced; from MISA it came to NSA. At that time, I was the SP of the undivided Cuttack City, which had a population of about 42 lakhs.
In the city, there were a lot of anti-social activities and public order was at stake. Public order is the most important thing in a city. One person was arrested by me. It went to the Review Board. A sitting judge was the Chairman of the Review Board and two other retired judges of the High Court were its Members. The practice is that the Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate have to place the facts before the Review Board. I placed the facts before the Review Board and immediately the Chairman said: `It is not acceptable, you have unnecessarily arrested this person. I allow him to go scot free.' You cannot argue. I also did not argue.
After four days, right in front of the house of that judge there was a fracas between two groups and this man, who had been allowed to go scot free, had hit a person with a sword and with that blood-dripped sword entered into the house of the judge and terrorised him for about 45 minutes. I got information and I came there. I found that he had gone into that house. We chased him and he went away. The judge then told me that he would have been killed. I told him: `Your Honour, yes, you could have been killed, but you should have known the situation which existed in this city. You are in an Ivory Tower. You do not know the situation prevailing in the city. You allowed him to go scot free.' He told me, `I am sorry and from next time onwards I would not allow anybody to go'. For another one year I had a very good time and whosoever was arrested, the judge would say that he would stay in jail.
Sir, why I am mentioning this is because we have to cope up with the problems that have been coming to us -- be it a shepherd, or be it a lady who gave water. You have to take the facts in its totality and then only you could come to a conclusion as to what was required by the enforcing officer.
Take the case of the North-East; take the case of Kashmir; take the case of Punjab where millitancy is in a dormant stage. Take for example, the State of Bihar. Everywhere you cannot cope up with normal criminal activity and all that. There has to be an abnormal action and that abnormality may be criticised by people at a later stage. But for giving a healthy society, for instilling confidence in the minds of the citizens of this country, it is necessary that we must go beyond. In going beyond there might be coercion. You may call it a draconian law. But it is all for the society. It has to be accepted. You have to commit a small crime in order to prevent a big crime, if it is necessary. That is what has been done. If we ask for the removal of clause IV of Section I of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987, then I think, we would not be able to cope up with the problems.
Sir, the persons who have been arrested earlier might have been arrested for some secessionist activities; they might have been arrested for some ransom; they might have been arrested for some bomb blasts; or they might have been arrested for some seditious activities, maybe, for making a statement. A statement can also create problems. A statement by a person could be more powerful than a bomb. If that person has been arrested on the sole basis of a statement, then why should one bother about it? But if you think that just because of a statement a person has been arrested, then I think, it would not be proper on the part of this august House to sit in judgement at this time.
Sir, that is why, in the year 1995, the Rajya Sabha had thought of introducing another Bill by the title, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 1995. It was almost same as the TADA. But there has been a softening of the facts. Softening of the facts means, no enquiry or investigation can start without the written permission from the Superintendent of Police. No chargesheet can be filed without the sanction from the Inspector General of Police. That is the kind of a softening attitude that has been adopted. But the same thing has been kept. The same thing means that many persons with money and power can get a bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Anybody with a bag of money could immediately get anticipatory bail, with brilliant lawyers hovering around and pliable judges sitting on judgement.
If that is the fact, if Section 438 is applicable in TADA cases, all the TADA detenues could have been allowed to go scot free. That anticipatory bail provision has been cut off in TADA and the same thing is done here also. You are all the lawmakers. You also kindly think what would be the position in the absence of such a stringent provision. And what is that stringent provision? It is that there would be a designated court and the Supreme Court, and there would be none in between when you start a case in new Act which I hope would come into force. It is my earnest request to the hon. Members here to insist upon reintroduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 1995. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to cope with the many problems that have been coming up every day.
Think of Kashmir. The other day, seven policemen not connected with any activity at that particular moment of time were killed. Human Rights Commissions have been crying hoarse about human rights. What has happened to those seven constables and innocent bystanders who have been injured or killed? Who will look after people unless there is a stringent Act to arrest the people involved immediately and put them inside the jail? Let them languish in jail for the whole life. The hon. Member who spoke before me mentioned that there is a provision for five years of imprisonment but people have been languishing in jails for seven years. Let them languish. They have gone out of the way to kill people. They have been draconian in their actions and the law should also be draconian to put them down.
If I were the victim, I would be shouting hoarse. Kindly think of a situation where one of us has been a victim, or a near relation of ours has been killed, or one of us had been taken for ransom, or our houses have been gutted by fire. If the person responsible for it comes out of prison after four years and perpetrates the same act, how do we feel? Kindly think of it.
I am not going into details. As I said, I cannot match the hon. Member's eloquence. I only say as to what the situation is in our country today. There have been penalties and forfeitures. We are not bothered about it. It is over. No new case is being taken up. Penalties are over during investigation. But the investigation stage is still continuing. Very few cases are there. I think only 1,026 persons were there till the end of 1999. By this time many must have come out jail. In a very few cases investigations are on. There is no question of forfeiture of property, etc. Only some investigations are continuing but those investigations must continue under Clause 4 of Section 1 of the Act which was there.
Till another Act comes into force, I think the Government should take immediate steps to introduce that Act, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 1995 again so that TADA in a different form comes into force. Without such coercive methods it would be very difficult to control those persons who think of cessation. It would be very difficult to control them. In this country, there are many people who are at the helm of affairs, who have money, who have been always thinking of seceding from this country. If somebody in my house revolts, do I not box his ears? Do I not whip him for whatever he has done? This is what is whipping or boxing the ears by the State. So, we should not take it amiss. We should take it in its stride, in the good spirit that it has come with.
There are people who are trying to affect the harmony amongst different sections of the people. My friend Shri Banatwalla was indirectly referring to some people of a particular community. But TADA is only saying that those who are attempting disruptive activities amongst different communities have to be arrested and put behind bars so that they do not have any access to the persons who have remained outside and are creating problems.
Take the case of General Musharraf talking to another man in Jodhpur jail. Recently, we read in the newspapers that he sent some communication to that person. I forget the name of the person who is in Jodhpur jail. Had the TADA been there, immediately, the jailer and many other persons would have been put inside the bar. One may say that only a letter was sent; only some conversation had taken place, and therefore, why should a person be arrested under TADA? That is what Shri Banatwalla's argument is. No. It is cancerous situation which is prevailing in this country. That cancer has to be taken out. For taking out the cancer, you can cut off a limb, it does not matter. But the body will remain intact. That has to be thought of. Think of that small incident where General Musharraf could be able to send certain information to that person who is in Jodhpur jail. If we do not have a new Act to match with the TADA provisions, maybe, softened to some extent, it would be very difficult -- I tell this august House -- in another three to four years, to cope up with the problems. Any number of policemen, any number of army men would not be able to cope up with it unless we strike terror into the minds of those people who are thinking of secession or communal disharmony in this country.
With these few words, I oppose this Bill.
MR. CHAIRMAN : Now, Shri Ramesh Chennithala. You may conclude your speech within 10 minutes. Then, we shall take up Half-an-Hour discussion.
SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA (MAVELIKARA): Mr. Chairman, Sir, on 23rd May, 1995, the TADA got lapsed. The request of the mover of the Bill, hon. Shri G.M. Banatwalla is that the cases pending under the TADA, which has lapsed, may be tried under existing laws. Sir, more than 1,200 people are there in different jails under this TADA. Shri Banatwalla was explaining about the situation as to how people were persecuted and how their civil rights were takenaway under the TADA.
Sir, time and again, certain provisions of the TADA have been criticized in this august House. The TADA has been widely criticized even outside Parliament also. Sir, it has violated our democratic rights and legal norms which are existing in our country. As Shri Banatwalla has rightly pointed out, Section 1(4) has been severely criticized. He has illustrated certain examples also.
Sir, we have to think as to why the TADA had been enforced in our country at all. In normal circumstances, stringent laws like the TADA would not have been enacted by Parliament. No Government wanted to enforce such an Act. No elected Government, democratic Government, civilized Government wants such an Act. Then why did the situation arise? I agree with Shri Anadi Sahu on certain issues. He had been the Inspector-General of Police of Orissa. He knows better than all of us about the terrorists activities. I know, during his tenure, he was a very capable police officer.
Sir, the unity and integrity of the country is a paramount issue before every citizen in our country, and we cannot allow any kind of anti-national propaganda or anti-national activity in our nation. Any kind of such an action should be criticized. Why has this TADA been enforced? It has been enforced to check the terrorists activities and disruptive activities in certain parts of our country.
We are all aware that no civilised country wants this kind of an Act. But even in other countries like, Britain passed an Act in order to check the terrorist and disruptive activities prevailing at that time. The advanced countries like the USA also passed such Acts to check this menace of terrorist activities in their countries. India also is not an exception. Today Shri K. Francis George and I had to go to the airport to receive two bodies of the jawans who were killed in Doda region. We are about to go to the airport to receive the bodies. They were killed in an encounter with the terrorists in the Doda region. These youngsters, one hails from Trivandrum and the other from Pathanamatta in my Constituency. We are just going to receive their bodies from the airport. They were posted in the Doda region and they were having an encounter with the terrorists and they died and their bodies are coming. The situation in Jammu & Kashmir and in Punjab has to be seen very seriously. What is happening in the North-East? If you go through these areas, you will be able to see the amount of terrorism and terrorist activities which are prevailing. Normal life has been affected seriously. Even in Jammu & Kashmir, civilians are not safe. The terrorist activities had reached such alevel that even everyday human casualties are taking place. This has to be checked. I am not saying we should reintroduce TADA. But we should have some kind of a deterrent to save the unity, integrity and the freedom of our country. We have to protect the freedom of people. Of course, TADA has been misused and innocent people were kept in jail and to suffer. I went to Rajasthan. Twenty to thirty people who belong to the minority community came to me and they showed me how their families harassed by the police and how they were put under TADA. I have taken up their case with the authorities. Even from the All India Congress Committee, we have given some assistance to the poor people who had suffered under TADA. But, at the same time, we cannot allow the terrorists to go scot free and to do whatever they want to do. We are all aware of the terrorist activities prevailed in the State of Punjab. What was the situation there? Three or four years back, what was happening in Punjab, is now happening even in Jammu & Kashmir. Even an elected Government cannot control the situation and cannot run the State. The terrorist activities are such that even normal life is not existing in the States. So, I think that the Government should come forward to check this kind of activity. As Shri Anadi Sahu pointed out rightly even issuing a statement against the country is punishable. Those people should be checked and any kind of propaganda against the nation should be checked properly But in a situation like this which is prevailing in Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and in the North-Eastern States, the Government is compelled to have some laws. Innocent people should not be harassed. As Shri G. M. Banatwalla rightly pointed out we all agree that innocent people should not be harassed. Lot of injustice has been done to all people and he has explained that.
Can we justify the people who were directly or indirectly involved in the bomb blasts in Bombay which caused hundreds of deaths? Can we approve of it? ... (Interruptions)
SHRI RAJIV PRATAP RUDY (CHHAPRA): Sir, we are to have the Half-an-hour discussion at 5.30 p.m. He can continue later.
MR. CHAIRMAN : He can continue till 5.47 p.m. He can take 17 more minutes now.
SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA (MAVELIKARA): Sir, I need at least half-an-hour to conclude.
MR. CHAIRMAN: We will take up the Half-an-hour discussion at 5.47 p.m. and you can continue later on.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Since we started late, at 3.17 p.m., we can go on up to 5.47 p.m.
SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA : We cannot sit after six o'clock. Today is Friday and we have to go.
SHRI RAJIV PRATAP RUDY : Sir, let him continue in the next Session.
MR. CHAIRMAN: If the House agrees, we may take up the Half-an-hour discussion now.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.