The Gujarat assembly passed the Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Bill, 2020 on the basis of majority during the ongoing five-day Monsoon session.
The proposed bill will facilitate for setting up of Special Courts for the purpose, but these courts won’t be able to take cognizance of any offence without the prior sanction of the state government.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Pradeepsinh Jadeja proposed the new Bill on Wednesday.
The new Act proposes strict legal action against Goonda elements indulging in illegal acts like bootlegging, gambling, cow slaughter, dealings in narcotic substances, human trafficking, sexual harassment of children, spurious drugs manufacturing, land grabbing, usury, kidnapping, selling illegal weapons and other.
According to the proposed legislation, the definition of Goonda elements includes individuals or groups who threaten violence or who damage public order. The accused will face a maximum imprisonment of 10 years and a minimum imprisonment of seven years. They will also be facing fines of up to Rs 50,000.
Additionally, if any government employee abets or aids these Goonda elements in such illegal acts will also face a jail term not less than three years which may go up to 10 years.
Special courts will be established under the provisions of the new legislation. For every special court, the state government will shall appoint a public prosecutor and appoint one or more assistant public prosecutors or additional public prosecutors.
According to the provisions of the Bill, a prior approval of the concerned range Inspector General of Police or Police Commissioner will be mandatory for registration of any offence under it.
The new legislation includes many provisions included in previous legislations like the illegal consumption, sale, transport, production of intoxicants, taking possession of immovable properties in violation of legal provisions, raising false claims of ownership of an immovable property or to produce fake documents in that regard, offences related to immorality, offences involving the protection of children, offences under the ambit of the Gambling Act, resorting to violence to disturb social harmony, extortion, illegal transport of livestock, violation of the Arms Act, etc.
The legislation also provides protection of the witnesses from the state government. Further, names and addresses of witnesses will be kept confidential.
Under the provisions of the Act, the properties of the Goonda elements will be liable to be attached by the concerned district magistrate. The district magistrate will also have the liberty to, if necessary, appoint administrators for such a property.
“Looking at the provisions of the new Bill, one will think that currently there is no law and order prevailing in the state and that’s why the government had to bring in this Bill,” said Paresh Dhanani the Leader of Opposition Party.