The proposed bill to prevent communal violence in the country drafted by National Advisory Council led by Sonia Gandhi has become a case of over reach. The bill which was well intentioned which armed Centre with runaway powers to intervene in state affairs, creation of overlapping authorities and selective definition of victims for its effective implementation needs to make drastic changes in the Indian Constitution. The proposed bill calls for changes in the federal principles set out in the Constitution’s seventh schedule that distributes legislative powers between the Centre and the states. Bill also flaws in making out a definition of sufferers of communal violence as a “group” comprises only of religious, linguistic or religious minorities or scheduled castes and tribes which is discriminatory as it can mean that even if a large number of majority community members bear the brunt of communal violence, they will not be victims of “targeted violence”. The proposed bill has troubling provisions like those including armed forces under the ambit of security forces charged with preventing or acting against communal forces. This not only violates the federal set up by involving armed forces in routine operations, it also affects their preparedness.
Report by : Reuben