New Delhi: A government body set up to suggest ways in which government departments and organizations can improve their performance wants a comprehensive anti-terror law and the country’s federal investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, overhauled to tackle terrorism.
The agency’s recommendations are present in a report that was submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July and released on Tuesday. It comes in the wake of blasts in New Delhi on Saturday and, significantly, calls for a new law to tackle terrorism—which is against the government’s stated position that existing laws are adequate.
Seeking reforms: Congress leader Veerappa Moily. PIB
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, or ARC, was set up in 2005 and is headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
“The National Security Act will be amended to include and cover anti-terror activities. Some aspects and provisions of Pota (Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002) may be included. But the law will also include strong safeguards to prevent abuse (unlike Pota),” the report said. Pota was repealed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government months after it came to power in 2004.
“A new law should be enacted to govern the working of the CBI. This law should also stipulate its jurisdiction, including the power to investigate the new category of crimes,” the report said with reference to the CBI. “The CBI is now governed by the Delhi Police Act. A new law using the residuary powers of the Central government should be passed to govern the CBI. This approach requires no amendment of the constitution,” said Moily.
On Monday, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the government was looking at creating a federal anti-terrorism agency, which needs a constitutional amendment and requires the support of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. Such amendments need to be passed by at least two-thirds of Parliament.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the government was “guilty of criminal neglect” for ignoring the recommendations of ARC.
(PTI contributed to this story.)