Ahead of the discussion on the Liberhan report early next week, the Union Cabinet is learnt to have cleared the laws to deal with communal violence and fine-tune the restrictions on the powers of the police to arrest suspects in offences punishable with less than seven years.
At a late evening meeting, the Cabinet is also understood to have cleared amendments to the Foreign Contribution Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill that has been pending for the last three years. Also, the Cabinet cleared a law to remove disparity in travel facilities between ministers and MPs.
The decision to pull the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill out of the deep freezer - it was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2005 – comes close on the heels of the Liberhan Commission on Babri Masjid demolition recommending a law to prevent such violence.
An official said the plan was to introduce all the planned legislations in the ongoing session or have them passed, depending on their status. There were reports that the Cabinet had also approved the introduction of a legislation to set up a tribunal to adjudicate disputes in the higher education sector.
The Bill sought to empower the Centre to declare an area in a state as communally disturbed — opposed by the parliamentary standing committee — and send central security forces without the state's request and transfer of cases outside the state concerned for trial and take steps to protect witnesses.