Special Courts to be formed for cases against thugs

Ahmedabad

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has announced a new measure to further strengthen the safety and security of the state in the days to come through ‘The Gujarat Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act’. Chief Minister will pass an ordinance for the same in the next Cabinet Meeting.

Chief Minister has taken a strict view of anti-social elements, and recently made important amendments in the ‘PASA Act’. He has also strengthened the Anti-Corruption Bureau, introduced strict laws against cow-slaughter, land mafias, etc. ‘The Gujarat Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act’ will tighten the leash on anti-social elements who are a hindrance in the state’s progress. This act will introduce strict laws against people who are involved in the illegal trade of alcohol, gambling, cow-slaughter, human and child trafficking, sale of counterfeit medicines, sale of substances like drugs, kidnapping, transport and sale of illegal weapons etc. While introducing stricter law for the anti-social elements, the Chief Minister has also made provisions under the Act to provide protection to the people. Witnesses in all the above instances will be provided government protection. In addition to that, the government will ensure complete secrecy of the witness. Their names, and other contact details will not be mentioned.

People engaged in anti-social activities or found preparing for the same or hindering the safety and tranquillity of the state will face a prison term of no less than 7 years and up to 10 years and a fine of Rs. 50,000. Government officials /public servants, if found abetting such people will face a prison term no less than 3 years and up to 10 years. The Chief Minister has also made provisions in the ordinance for a 6 month imprisonment without penalty and a fine of Rs.10,ooo for any act committed by thugs in violation of the rules of the Act. Prior permission is required from the concerned Range I.G (Inspector General) or Police Commissioner before registering such offences under the aforesaid Act.

Thugs are defined as those who threaten and bully people individually or in groups, or those engaged in destruction of public properties. Such people will be punished under this law. Violation of the Narcotics Act and Drugs Act and engaging in consumption, transportation, import and export of alcohol, drugs, and other such substances will be included under the Act. Similarly, engaging in activities like counterfeit property documents or claiming land through ill means, or abetting in illegal acquisition of land etc will also be included under the same.

Prostitution, offenses under the Child Protection Act, offenses under Gambling Prevention Act, attempts to resort to violence and disrupt harmony, spreading panic and terror among people, kidnapping for ransom, engaging in physical violence for recovering money, illegal transportation of animals, violations of the Arms Act and engaging in production, sale and transportation of arms and ammunition will also be included under ‘The Gujarat Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act’. Special courts will be formed in order to deal with cases related to the same in order to provide justice to the people in a speedy manner. Provisions for the same have been made already. Provisions have also been made to conduct hearings of such cases in other courts, apart from the designated courts. Pending cases related to all the aforesaid offenses will directly fall under the jurisdiction of the Special Courts formed for the same. The cases can also be transferred from one special court to the other, if required.

Cases will proceed and come to a definite result even if the accused cannot be physically present for the hearing, on account of being accused in multiple offenses and cannot be produced in the special courts during the hearing. People violating the provisions of this act will face a prison term of up to 1 year and a fine up to Rs.5000. The property of the thugs will be confiscated by the District Magistrate in case the property accumulated by thugs is liable to be investigated. If required, they can also appoint a property administrator for the same.