Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Vijay Rupani, has decided to propose an ordinance for the amendment of Prevention of Anti- Social Activities (PASA) Act, 1985. In a bid to re-affirm the identity of the state as peaceful, safe and secure the Chief Minister intends to expand the scope of the Act.
The Act which has been in place in the state since 1985 is applicable in the cases of Arms Act, Indian Penal Code, drug offenders, bootleggers, illegally acquiring the properties of the government, people involved in the prostitution and gamblers. Under the PASA Act, habitual offenders can be held in preventive detention on the orders of District Magistrate for up-to one year.
Due to increase in activities such as cyber fraud, loan sharks, cyber crimes, illegal gambling, violence against women etc., the State Government has decided to extend the application of the Act to include cyber criminals, loan sharks and sexual offenders etc.
A government official stated that “the amendment also seeks to cover those involved in physical violence and intimidation of weaker sections”.
At present, the cyber crimes are not included within the ambit of PASA Act but to prevent duping of customers via online apps and websites and to prevent other cyber crimes including those against women, scope of the Act would be expanded. A person committing crimes under the Information Technology Act can be detained under the PASA Act.
Earlier in cases of gambling, a person was detained only if he was involved in a similar crime within three years of his conviction. But in proposed legislation, this limit of three years would be removed and the person in violation of the said Act can be detained then and there.
The act will also be made applicable to those involved in sexual harassment offenses under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The CM is likely to table the proposed ordinance on Wednesday.