Petition Closed
Petitioning Prime Minister, Government of India, Prime Minister, Government of India, Dr Manmohan Singh and 7 others

Table the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian Parliament

SAY NO to Violence, YES to Justice and Peace

To protect the Lives and Properties of Disadvantaged Citizens who are Victims of Targeted and Mass Violence during which bouts, officers of the state have shown overt ot covert complicity; in short to breathe life into Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution (Right to Life and Right to Equality Before the Law)

  •  Support the Justice for All Campaign
  •  Ensure an End to Impunity,
  •  Ensure Accountability from Public Servants
  •  Breathe Life into Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution

 

Supported by: Justice P.B Sawant (retired) Supreme Court of India, Justice Hosbet Suresh (retired) Bombay High Court, Justice S.H.A Raza (retired) Lucknow Bench, Allahabad High Court & Lokayukta, Uttarakhand, Justice Michael Saldanha (retired) Karnataka High Court, Justice Fakhruddin (retired) High Court, MP & Chattisgarh, Justice B.G Kolse Patil (resigned) Bombay High Court

Join the nationwide signature campaign and

Demand the

-- Expeditious Tabling of Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence  Access to Justice   and Reparations) Bill 2011 in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) forthwith

--  Make this a Mass Signature Campaign

--  Also write to the Prime Minister of India, Shri Manmohan Singh, Home Minister of India, Shri Sushilkumar Shinde, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance II, Smt Sonia Gandhi

Summary of the Bill

After the genocidal pogrom of Gujarat in 2002, UPA I in its Common Minimum Programme(CMP) assured India’s minorities of a special law and well defined crimes to ensure that the perpetrators of mass and targeted violence are punished and fair reparations are made mandatory. This promise has not been kept.

The recent perpetrated violence in the four districts of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Shamli and Meerut demand that all sections of India’s political class are made to fulfill this long overdue promise.  The National Advisory Council (NAC) drafted a bill in June 2011 aimed at tackling communal and targeted violence and delivering justice and compensation to victims.  The proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 has brought in categories like sexual offences, hate propaganda, dereliction of duty and culpability of officials within its ambit, widening the spectrum of crimes that constitute communal violence.  

This mass signature campaign now aims at ensuring that the government of India, focusing on the need to get the PCTV Bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha, presents a re-worked and re-drafted Bill, on the lines of the NAC draft, and keeps its 2004 CMP promise. Once tabled, this Bill will undoubtedly be sent to a Standing Committee for detailed deliberations and amendments before being finally brought back to the Houses of Parliament.

 

Key Features of the Proposed Bill

(already contained in the NAC Draft)

  • The PCTV bill is an enabling law to ensure that the culture of inaction, complicity and absence of accountability when it comes to the protection of life and property of the vulnerable and margianalised ends and Public Servants can be held accountable for a dereliction of duty
  • The proposed Bill broadens the definition of dereliction of duty — which is already a crime — and, for the first time in India, adds offences by public servants or other superiors for breach of command responsibility. What this means is If the police and administration were to be held directly responsible for the failure to impartially enforce Rule of Law, perpetrators of recurring violence would be halted in their tracks.
  • Besides, the proposed Bill also makes provisions of a robust witness and victim protection provisions be made available at all levels to enable victims to access justice If senior officers were held responsible for dereliction of duty they would ensure accountability from themselves and the men and women they command.
  • Apart from including the usual Indian Penal Code (IPC) offences, the PCTV Bill modernizes the definition of sexual assault to cover crimes other than rape and elaborates on the crime of hate propaganda already covered by Section 153A of the IPC. 
  • Likewise, the Bill fills the lacuna of compensation for those affected by communal and targeted violence.  Today, the relief that victims get is decided by the government on an ad hoc and sometimes discriminatory basis.  Sections 90 and 102 of the PCTV bill rectify this by prescribing an equal entitlement to relief, reparation, restitution and compensation for all persons who suffer physical, mental, psychological or monetary harm as a result of the violence, regardless of whether they belong to a minority group or not. Gender Violence and destruction of homes and property has also been factored in for reparation. If fair reparation commensurate to the loss were to be compulsorily paid within a time-frame, the future would not benefit rioters.
  • Anotherimportant feature is the dilution of the standard requirement that officials can only be prosecuted with the prior sanction of the government.  The PCTV bill says no sanction will be required to prosecute officials charged with offences which broadly fall under the category of dereliction of duty. 
  • The PCTV bill also envisages the creation of a National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation.  The authority's role will be to serve as a catalyst for implementation of the new law.

Background

Equality before the law and Discrimination towards none are among the founding Principles of the Indian Republic. Yet, between these non-negotiable Ideals articulated in our Constitution and the reality on the ground, there is an ever-widening gap.

The history of targeted violence in the country, in particular the recurring state-sponsored and state-condoned targeted violence of the past three decades – Nellie, Assam (1983), Delhi (1984), Kashmir (1989), Bhagalpur (1989), Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat (2002) and Kandhamal, Orissa (2008) – show that India's religious minorities (Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs, Christians) have been repeatedly denied these constitutional guarantees. Tamilians in Karnataka and Biharis in Maharashtra are examples of linguistic minorities who often get targeted. Dalits and Adivasis too are frequent victims: the Khairlanjee massacre of Dalits in 2006 or the Ramabai Nagar police firing in 1998, both in Maharashtra, are cases in point.

Over fifteen years ago, a serving, senior IPS officer made a stunning statement: “No riot can last for more than 24 hours unless the state wants it to continue”. This statement has since then been endorsed by a number of senior policemen and political leaders.  What this means is simple. If the police and administration were to be held directly responsible for the failure to impartially enforce Rule of Law, perpetrators of recurring violence would be halted in their tracks. If the law could facilitate time-bound prosecution of those guilty, the political gains from engineered violence would diminish. If fair reparation commensurate to the loss were to be compulsorily paid within a time-frame, the future would not benefit rioters. If senior officers were held responsible for dereliction of duty they would ensure accountability from themselves and the men and women they command.

The targeted and mass attacks have often been state-sponsored or state-condoned.  Worse, when it comes to following the Rule of Law and ensuring accountability and due process after bouts of such targeted violence, the local administration and the police have been found tardy and wanting, failing to deliver justice and punish the guilty.  Judicial Commissions have concluded that successive governments have been guilty of serious crimes of both omission and commission.

SAY NO to Violence, YES to Justice and Peace

Sign this petition

 

Also Write to

(1)  Dr Manmohan Singh,

 Prime Minister, Government of India,

 Email: manmohan@sansad.nic.in, pmosb@pmo.nic.in

 Fax: 011-23019545 / 23016857

 (2)  Shri Sushilkumar Shinde

 Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India

 Email: hm@nic.in

 Fax: 011-23710065

 (3)  Smt. Sonia Gandhi

 Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance II

 Email: janpathten@yahoo.com

 Fax: 011-23018550

 

(4) Shri Rahul Gandhi,

     Vice President, Indian National Congress & Member of Parliament

      Email:  office@rahulgandhi.in

This petition was delivered to:
  • Prime Minister, Government of India,
    Prime Minister, Government of India, Dr Manmohan Singh
  • Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India
    Shri Sushilkumar Shinde
  • Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance II
    Smt. Sonia Gandhi
  • Minister for Minority Affairs Government of India
    Shri K. Rahman Khan
  • Member of Parliament & Polit Bureau Member CPI(M)
    Shri Sitaram Yechury
  • Vice President, Indian National Congress & Member of Parliament
    Shri Rahul Gandhi
  • Leader of the Opposition, Loks Sabha
    Smt Sushma Swaraj (Leader of the Opposition, Loks Sabha)
  • Minister of External Affairs
    Sushma Swaraj


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