Free Press Journal

No power to Centre in communal violence bill: Sibal


New Delhi: Even as the Opposition today scuttled introduction of the controversial communal violence prevention bill in Rajya Sabha contending it violates federalism, Law Minister Kapil Sibal said the legislation has no provision which gives power to the Centre.

“We have drafted the Communal Violence Bill very carefully. There is no provision in it which gives power to the central government,” Sibal tweeted.

He also said that to preserve the federal structure, “Sec 30 of the Communal Violence Bill includes state govt concurrence before any action by the NHRC.”

His tweets on the bill came after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled that the Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2014 stands deferred in view of the “mood of the House” after the move was opposed by BJP, CPI-M, AIADMK, DMK and SP.

Before the deferment, the House saw an animated brief debate on whether Parliament had the jurisdiction to enact such a bill with Sibal and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, both noted lawyers, sparring on the issue.

Jaitley contended Parliament has no legislative competence to enact such a law and it will violate the spirit of federalism.

Countering him, Sibal insisted the federal structure was not being violated and any Central action under the bill would be with the consent of the state government.

Raking up the 2002 Gujarat riots issue, he said such a bill was necessary for central intervention in the event of “state-sponsored communal activity…it is like it happened in Gujarat”.