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TN bringing sexual, cyber criminals under Goondas Act, eyes preventive detention

Chennai, Aug 11 (PTI): Tamil Nadu Government on Monday introduced two Bills in the state Assembly to bring sexual offenders and cyber criminals under the purview of the stringent Goondas Act and also provide for invoking the provisions of the act against first time offenders.

One of the amendment Bill aims to give effect to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's announcement as part of her 13-point action plan in January last year to ensure protection of women.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill, sexual offences against women were prejudicial to maintenance of public order and the government had announced the 13-point action plan, which includes a proposal to bring sexual offenders within the purview of preventive detention under the Goondas Act.

The other bill stated that cyber crime was assuming great importance because of spread of Information Technology and it has the potential to pose a threat to internal security. Hence it has been considered to bring the cyber law offenders within the ambit of the act.

It also provided for invoking the Act on even first time offenders, sending a strong message that such crimes will be dealt with an iron hand.

Currently the Act, which provides for preventive detention of certain types of offenders whose activities have the potential to affect the public order, can be invoked against habitual offenders.

The basic requirement for making an order of detention under the Act in respect of 'goonda' is habitual commission or attempt to commit or abetment of commission of offences specified in the definition of the term 'goonda.'

“There are instances where a single act has the potential to disrupt public order and therefore it will not be meaningful to wait for habitual commission of offences by a person before resorting to preventive detention. Hence, there is a need for a provision for preventive detention of such persons even on commission of a single offence, which has the propensity to disturb public order,” the statement of objects and reasons said.

Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Natham R Viswanathan introduced the bills to amend the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drugoffenders, Forestoffenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic offenders, Sandoffenders, Slumgrabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982 (Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982), known as Goondas Act.