April 22, 2012
Vaishakh Shukla Pratipada, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
New Delhi, India : Junking the proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (access to justice and reparations) Bill, 2011 prepared by the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council, civil society groups have suggested radical changes in the draft legislation.
Raising objects to the definition of ‘Group’ —used in the bill for religious or linguistic minority or SCs and STs— civil society groups on Saturday sought uniform compensation for victims of communal violence, based on loss incurred and not on religion.
Representatives of 54 civil society groups met on Saturday for a national consultation on the bill and prepared a new draft to be handed over to the government.
While questioning the proposed setting up of a National Authority, the groups said the notion of minority group could result in discrimination and the provisions relating to reparative justice have been adjudged as being paternalistic, making the rights of the survivors useless.
The groups pointed out that NAC’s draft law presumes that members of the majority community cannot be victims of violence. “The victim of violence can also be people from the majority groups… Killing of Hindus in Muslim dominated areas too should be under this law, because Hindus will then be in minority in a Muslim dominated area,” said Niaz A Farooqui of Jamat-e-Ulema-i-Hind.
The draft prepared by the civil society groups fixes answerability of public servants who fail to control riots. They suggested that public authorities exercising state power should be made accountable and criminally liable for acts of omission and commission in relation to their duties.
The excuse of an official that he acted or failed to act on account of orders from a superior authority should not be available as a defence to public servants in situations of communal and targeted crime.
Source : DNA