The government is expected to release the final version of the final draft of the National Public Hearing Act, which will be used to set the parameters of the hearing and the length of time a person can be denied entry to a public meeting, said Manish Gupta, the state government’s information and technology secretary.
The final version will be presented to the Supreme Court in the next two weeks.
If the government’s proposal is accepted, the hearing will be scheduled for March 25.
“The government is finalising the bill.
If this is accepted by the Supreme, then the hearing would be moved,” Gupta said.
If the government gets the nod, the National Council of Civil Liberties will set the dates of the hearings.
“We are in touch with the committee for the proposed hearing schedule.
If it is approved, we would then proceed to the court,” Gupta told PTI.
A number of civil liberties groups have been challenging the National Police Bill.
They said the government is not taking any action to protect people from police harassment and intimidation.
“We are not happy about the bill because it is an attack on our civil liberties.
We feel that the police are doing the bidding of the government, not of the people.
The bill is a complete and total attack on civil liberties,” said Shashank Gupta, founder and president of the Delhi-based Lawyers Syndicate of India (LSI).
The bill is likely to have the impact of increasing police presence and making people feel uncomfortable, said Rajesh Kapoor, legal director at Delhi- based human rights law firm Manish Ghosh Law.
“It is also a bill that will also make police officers feel vulnerable,” he said.
The bill would also require the Centre to set up a body to monitor and enforce the bill, which was passed in May, he said, adding that the bill has no safeguards for privacy.
The Supreme Court has to grant an interim stay on the bill before it becomes law.
The draft bill, however, has been criticised by some activists and human rights organisations.
The National Commission for Protection of Civil Rights and Constitutional Freedoms (NCPCR), a joint-association of civil rights groups, had opposed the bill on the grounds that it could infringe upon citizens’ rights.
The NCPF had also raised concerns over the provisions that were included in the bill and said they would “impose unreasonable limitations on the right to freedom of speech, assembly and association”.
“The bill does not protect the right of freedom of assembly and does not allow the right against arbitrary arrest.
It is likely that the government will resort to arbitrary arrests,” the NCPLF had said in a statement on Tuesday.