It was felt that the definition of communal violence is insufficient. A wide and broader definition was suggested so as to include various gender based sexual offences. There is no provision in the Bill to tackle a situation where the state government does not declare an area as a disturb area despite sufficient reason. It was also demanded that the Act should come into force immediately and it should not be left to the discretion of the state government. It was also felt that communal crime committed elsewhere than in the disturb area should also be taken care of. It was also suggested that the question of sanction for prosecuting the erring government servants should be decided at the trial stage itself. If a communal violence erupts, local officials should be immediately suspended and departmental enquiry should follow. A great drawback of the Bill, it was felt, is that it does not involve the NGOs in preventing, controlling and awarding compensation/damages to the victims of the communal violence.
It was also suggested that article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees right to life and liberty should be made the foundation of the proposed law. Likewise, article 355 which permits central governments interference in a state should be made the basis of the centre’s interference in case an area is not declared as a disturb area or the state government fails to prevent and control communal riots. It was also suggested that reputed NGOs and the National Human Rights Commission should be involved for the declaration of an area as a disturbed area. It was also demanded that the Nuremberg trial liability should be fastened on those responsible for communal violence.
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, the Chairman of the Institute of Objective Studies announced that another meeting of the consultative committee will be held on 4th July, 2010 in which some former judges will give their suggestions in order to make the Bill more effective and workable. The proposed suggestions/amendments will then be sent to the Central Government for their proper incorporation. The keen interest of the Congress President and the UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to incorporate the suggestions of the NGOs and minority was welcome.
The participants in this consultative discussion included Mr. Manzoor Ahmad, IPS, former Vice-Chancellor, Agra University, Mr. Yusuf Muchhala, Senior Advocate, Mr. Naseem Ahmad, IAS, former Vice-Chancellor, AMU, Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, Chief Economist, NCAER, Mr. Mauji Khan, former ACP etc.