The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill seeking to incorporate provisions for preventive detention in the law is being withdrawn. The home minister, Charan Singh, announced in the Lok Sabha that the government would bring forward a separate legislation to repeal MISA. The decision is in response to the strong and widespread opposition expressed within and outside the Janata Party against preventive detention being brought into normal criminal law. Charan Singh conceded that with the traumatic experience of the Emergency still fresh, there was apprehension that powers of preventive detention could be misused by the executive despite the safeguards.
Addressing the first news conference as chairman of the Minorities Commission, Minoo Masani said the Commission will consider itself responsible not to the government, which has appointed it, but to the people. Masani said although the Commission has been established by executive order and has to report to the President and Parliament, it should not be looked upon as being an arm of the executive. The functions of the Commission are quasi-judicial and akin to that of an ombudsman appointed to assess and verify how the governments at the Centre and the states have been implementing “the various safeguards, measures and schemes which are embodied in the Constitution and the central and State laws for the protection of minorities”.
Mizo Rebels Regroup
The top brass of the outlawed Mizo National Army (MNA), who till recently were seen freely moving around in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, have gone underground following the termination of peace parleys between the rebel Mizo leader, Laldenga, and the Union government. Laldenga has also ordered a purge of “doubtful elements” in the top echelons of the MNA.