After failing to get a Legislative Council nod earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday re-introduced the proposed state law against organised crime in the Assembly, which later passed it.Introducing the Bill on Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA), Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who also holds the home portfolio, told the house that his government was committed to ensure the rule of law and the safety and security of the state's 22 crore people. He said it was essential to weed out organised crime and anti-national elements from the state. "Anybody who tries to disrupt peace, engage in terror and anti-national activities will be dealt with a stern hand and this bill is a major way ahead in this direction," Adityanath said. The bill, which was passed by the Vidhan Sabha or Assembly on December 23 last, hit rough weather when it was introduced on March 13 in the council (Vidhan Parishad), where the ruling BJP does not enjoy a majority.
The proposed legislation, drafted on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, has been resisted by the opposition as "draconian". The opposition parties have expressed apprehensions that the proposed law might be used to armtwist minorities and political opponents. Even as the Vidhan Sabha passed the bill yet again without any amendments on Tuesday, the state government has the numbers stacked against it in the upper house. In the 100-member Legislative Council, the Bharatiya Janata Party has 13 members, Samajwadi Party 61, Bahujan Samaj Party nine, Congress two, Rashtriya Lok Dal one and other parties 12. Two seats are vacant. While the Chief Minister sought the bill's passage to face security challenges, Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhary said his Samajwadi Party will continue to oppose the proposed law as it was a "diversionary tactic" to gloss over the BJP government's failures over the past year.Contesting Adityanath's claims on improved law and order, the former Minister said crime had increased under the Chief Minister's watch by 20.37 per cent. He claimed that the bill, once it becomes law, will be used against innocents to armtwist them into submission.