New Delhi, Nov 24 : In its Action Taken Report (ATR) submitted in parliament Tuesday along with the Liberhan Commission report on the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, the government stated that political leaders holding office should not simultaneously hold positions of responsibility in religious organisations.
The authorities' response was to the recommendation of former high court judge M. S. Liberhan that "political leaders, holders of constitutional offices and especially those holding cabinet positions sometimes simultaneously hold offices in religious organisations".
"The temptation to allow one judgement in one sphere to influence opinions in the other is irresistible and easily leads to dissatisfaction and disenchantment in other sections of the population," said Liberhan in his report.
Emphasising that the events leading to demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992 had the "disruptive potential of allowing the intermixing of religion and politics", Liberhan called for a law providing for punishment for misusing religion to acquire political power.
"A special separate law providing for exemplary punishment for misuse of religion, caste for political gains or illicit acquisition of political or other power ought to be enacted," his report says.
"Regional tribunals for ensuring swift prosecution and effective implementation of the law ought to be set up in the four corners of the country."
In response, the government says in the ATR that it is contemplating a bill to check communal violence and that the bill envisages the setting up of special courts.
It has also stated that steps would be taken to expedite the three cases pertaining to those responsible for the mosque demolition in the special courts in Lucknow and Rae Bareli.
"One of the measures contemplated is the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control & Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill. The bill contemplates the setting up of special courts," the government said in the ATR.
The government has also said the setting up of a centralised riot control constabulary was not required as the Central Reserve Police Force was already in existence.
On the role of intelligence agencies, Liberhan says there was a need to ensure coordination between various state and union intelligence agencies as "institutional and personal jealousies" have hampered "bits and pieces of intelligence from being assembled into usable and actionable information".
To this the government has responded by stating that measures have already been taken to improve intelligence sharing.
"The establishment of a Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) and state MACs is a step in this direction," said the ATR.
Critical of the role of the media, Liberhan says "there was a dire need for a body on the lines of Medical Council of India or the Bar Council of India which can entertain and decide complaints against individual members of the press corps or against newspapers.
"The Press Council of India as it exists today has no authority to hear complaints from persons aggrieved of questionable reporting and effectively punishing a mischievous journalist."
Responding to this suggestion, the government said: "The ministry of information and broadcasting and the ministry of law will be requested to examine the desirability and feasibility of establishing a tribunal or a regulatory body." (IANS)
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