The Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday passed the much-anticipated UP Control of Organised Crime Act (UP COCA) bill, thus clearing the way for turning it into an Act.
With the passing of the UPCOCA bill, UP becomes the third state to have such a bill on organised crime after Maharashtra and Karnataka. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath re-introduced the bill in the upper house early in the day.
The bill, which was passed by the Legislative Assembly on December 21 last year, focuses to combat land mafia, mining mafia, and organise crimes across the state. The Upper House turned down the bill once on March 13 after the entire Opposition termed the bill and Act as ‘draconian’ and staged a protest against it.
The bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly on March 14, after which CM Adityanath re-introduced it on Tuesday. Even on Tuesday, the Opposition, including the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Congress, protested against the bill and staged a walkout. The bill was later passed by a voice vote in the Assembly.
While addressing the Assembly, Adityanath said that a big state like UP needed a tough law against organised crime. He added that the UP Police were successful in controlling the rate of crime by seizing large quantities of arms, ammunition, narcotics, illicit liquor, and many other criminal things.
The passed draft of the UPCOCA bill extends the period of filing charge sheets from 90 days to 180 days. The draft has also underlined that the state government will set up a special force and UPCOCA courts to hear the cases filed under the upcoming Act.
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The draft also provides a minimum of three years capital punishment for those involved in organised crime. The draft Bill underlines a fine ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh for organised crime offenders.
The punishment for organised crime can also raise from 7 years to life imprisonment, depending on the nature of the crime.
The Bill says that the UPCOCA Act can be put only after the recommendation of Commissioner or IG-rank officials, to prevent possible misuse of the upcoming law. Also, cases will only be filed under the recommendation of the committee of divisional commissioner and DIG range officer.