AHMEDABAD: The Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in Gujarat on Wednesday cleared a proposal to enact a new law to rein in habitual criminals and anti-social elements with the legislation stipulating seven to 10 years of jail terms for offenders.
The proposed "Gujarat Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act", which seeks to strictly deal with criminals, covers a wide range of illegal activities besides providing for special courts to fast-track cases.
The state Cabinet gave its approval to a proposal to bring an ordinance "soon" to enforce provisions of the proposed legislation, said Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja.
"To curb the menace of habitual criminals and anti- social elements, the Cabinet has cleared the proposal to enact the Gujarat Gunda and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act. An ordinance in this regard will be brought soon," Jadeja told reporters in Gandhinagar after the Cabinet meeting.
Under the proposed law, those involved in anti-social activities or disturbing peace will attract jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years, and also a fine of Rs 50,000, said a government release that provided details of the proposed legislation.
Government officials found abetting such criminal elements will face prison terms of not less than three years which may go up to 10 years, the release said.
"Gundas", as per the legislation, are those who threaten and bully people in personal capacity or in groups, or those engaged in disturbing public order or involved in anti-social activities, said the release.
"This Act covers narcotic substances, liquor and drugs-related crimes, grabbing property, creating bogus property documents, women trafficking, offences related to POCSO Act, extortion and kidnapping for ransom," it said.
Other crimes for which the accused can be tried under this law include spreading terror among people, engaging in violence for recovering money, illegal transportation of animals, violation of the Arms Act, engaging in production, sale and transportation of arms and ammunitions, it said.
Witnesses will be given protection under the new law, including not revealing their names, the release said, adding special courts will be set up and past cases currently pending in regular courts will be transferred to them.
It also empowers courts to attach properties of anti-social elements, the release added.