The government is planning to amend the Anti-social Activities (Prevention) Act to enhance period for preventive detention of goondas from six months to one year. This is a measure intended to douse public anger over the free reign of quotation gangs and political murders. It does not address the real issue.
The real issue is that the conviction rate of goondas is not very high and that they manage to get bail and paroles easily. This happens because of their liaison with politicians and police officials. Kodi Suni, who is accused in the T. P. Chandrasekharan murder case, for example, is accused in more than two dozen criminal cases. How come people like him could freely roam around and engage in criminal activities including murders. This is not because we did not have stringent laws. Note the trouble the Italian marines had in getting bail and the conditions attached to the bail. In case of hardened criminals, the bail conditions will be stringent. They manage to undermine the system because of the assistance they are getting from politicians and police officials.
What the government is trying now to hoodwink the public into thinking that the government is acting against the quotation gangs and criminals. But what the law will achieve is to help the administration to hold goondas in jail for a little longer, that is, till the public anger would subside. They would be out of jail after another six months as the cases against them may not lead to convictions. Given the condition of jail administration, they would also be able to plan criminal activities including murders from within jail. If at all they are convicted, governments would release them from jail after some years. Even an accused in despicable murders like that of K. T. Jayakrishnan had been released after eight years while several others who participated in the murder had not been arrested.
On the other hand, the Act has the potential to be misused. Measures like preventive detection itself are a human rights violation in most circumstances. When preventive detections become routine, one cannot say it the rule of the law.