The BJP has termed the UPA government’s “Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2006” as “totally unacceptable”. The BJP’s reasoning is that chapter XI of the Bill, which empowers the Centre to deal with communal violence in a State and take over its law and order mechanism if it suspects that the State does not intend to act, threatens the federal structure of the country as there are no safeguards against its possible misuse.
Questions: Is the BJP right or wrong? Is protecting the federal structure—which means allowing the States to do what they want within the Union—more important than saving the lives of innocent people? If a State is burning, like in say Gujarat, should the Centre haplessly and helplessly look on because law and order is a “State” subject? Or will the Communal Violence bill, like Article 356, be liable for misuse at the hands of overly ambitious central governments?