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Categorise certain offences as federal crimes: NHRC

NHRC suggests that certain offences should be categorised as "federal crimes" to be handled by only a central agency, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 22:48 IST

Taking note of the challenges posed by terrorism, drug trafficking and other organised crimes having national and international ramifications, the National Human Rights Commission has suggested that certain offences should be categorised as "federal crimes" to be handled by only a central agency.

"There is an acute need to identify certain offences as federal crimes, the need arising from the stark reality of the national and international ramifications and implications of these crimes. It is also desirable that the task of their investigation should be entrusted to one central agency," the NHRC said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.

The affidavit has been filed in response to the court’s September 22, 2006 order on police reforms. It had sought response to the suggestions made by Prashant Bhushan, counsel for petitioner Prakash Singh, that cases relating to international terrorism and organised crimes like drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling of weapons and counterfeiting of currency and activities of mafia groups be treated as measures taken for the ‘defence of India’ and as ‘internal security measures’ under Article 355 of the Constitution.
Such cases involving international or inter-state ramifications should be entrusted to the CBI, Bhushan had said.

Listing about 65 offences under 15 Acts to be made "federal crimes", the NHRC said "the CBI which is already investigating some such cases after obtaining the concurrence of the state governments, may be entrusted with the responsibility of investigating federal crimes whenever the gravity of the offence so demands."

Important offences under IPC sought to be made "federal crimes" include waging war against the State (Section 121), counterfeiting of Indian coin or government stamp (Sections 232 & 255), kidnapping for ransom and kidnapping or abduction with intention to murder (Sections 364A & 364).

Besides, selling and buying minors for prostitution (Sections 372 & 273) and offences relating to extortion (Sections 384 to 389 of IPC) have also been suggested to be included in the possible list of "{federal crimes".

Organised crime as defined in the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 having inter-state or international ramification too should be treated as "federal crime", the NHRC said.