Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though Odisha government is all set to introduce 'Goonda And Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Bill, 2021' in the Assembly for approval to control antisocial and organised criminal activities posing threat to the law and order situation in the State, many senior citizens, lawyers and former top officials have expressed their apprehension over its effective implementation.

“The government aims to bring down the rising crimes in the State with the promulgation of the bill and the common men welcome the move wholeheartedly. But it should be implemented properly to control the hooligans causing disruption in law and order situation in the State,” said Manmohan Patnaik, a senior citizen in Bhubaneswar.

As per reports, the drafted bill has been sent to the Crime Branch department for further scrutinisation after an observation by the Law Department.

As per the provision in the bill, act of intimidating people, extorting money by threatening and causing harm to the property of others will be considered ‘Gundagiri’ (hooliganism).

If the accusation is proved in the court, the accused will get seven to ten years of imprisonment. 

In case it is proved that any government servant has helped the accused in perpetrating the crime, he/she will serve an imprisonment from three to 10 years.

Moreover, Special Courts will be set up to hear the cases under ‘Gundagiri’. 

If required there will be provisions in the law to confiscate the property of the accused. Importance will be given on the protection of the witnesses.

However, former top police officials and lawyers are of the opinion that only formulating a law is not sufficient to control criminal activities. Rather, its effective implementation is going to be the key.

“The law must be stringent and drafted in such a manner that the criminals will be punished and innocent people will get justice. It will be a real challenge for the police,” said former DGP Bipin Bihari Mishra.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Sourachandra Mohapatra said, the existing penal law is inadequate to prevent the crime.

“An effort has been made to formulate a combined law for the effective control of crime in the State. But, it remains to be seen how far it will be implemented,” said Mohapatra.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)