The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blow to terror law review

New Delhi, Oct. 2: The national committee set up to review the Prevention of Terrorism Act has run into hurdles, with several states questioning the need for such a scrutiny.

The BJP has been stressing that the committee should speed up its work and claims this will prevent misuse of the anti-terror law.

But more than a dozen states, including Bengal, have written to the committee, headed by Justice A.B. Saharya, that they have not implemented the anti-terror law so there is no question of review of its implementation.

States like Tamil Nadu that have invoked the anti-terror law also said there was no need for a national review committee as state-level committees were already on the job.

Under the law, state-level review committees were to be established. Tamil Nadu, which has invoked the law to arrest MDMK leader Vaiko, Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P. Nedumaran, Tamil bi-weekly Nakkeeran editor R.R. Gopal and a few others, has refused to send the information sought by the national committee, saying the state panel would do the job.

Justice Saharya said the committee would again write to various parties to submit details like the FIRs lodged, chargesheets filed and offences made out under the anti-terror law.

The national committee held a meeting in New Delhi yesterday. “During the third meeting of the committee, it was felt that additional information and materials are required to proceed further,” Justice Saharya said.

BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu had said a mechanism was needed to ensure that the anti-terror law was not misused and added that state review committees should also expedite their work.

On this point, Tamil Nadu said its state committee was handling the review and no information needed to be given to the national committee.

But Justice Saharya said the national committee would go ahead with the review despite the state’s stand. It has sought information from the other parties, too — the accused, their lawyers and relatives.

“We have already commenced the work of analysing the cases. If states do not help us in the process, we will go ahead on the basis of the materials and information available with us and draw our own conclusions,” he said.

The states and Union territories that do not want a review because they have not invoked the anti-terror law are: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.

Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and a few other states have given the details of cases filed under the anti-terror law.

The national committee will resume work once Justice Saharya is back in Delhi on October 7.

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