Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's proposal to write to chief ministers to review terror cases against members of the minority community is based on an improper policy and was clearly unconstitutional as it comes with an eye on vote-bank politics in an election year, BJP said on Saturday.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said that the states were not bound by such directives to form an "extra legal" review committee which would substitute the discretion of the public prosecutor and the judge, who can suggest and decide, respectively, whether a case is to be withdrawn.
The idea is clearly violative of even the provisions of criminal law, he added.
"A move that only a certain category of cases would be reviewed on the eve of elections is intended to link the otherwise uniform application of criminal law with vote-bank politics," Jaitley said.
The proposed directive/advisory by Shinde to states to discriminate between criminals on the basis of religion is founded on an "improper" policy.
"It violates the constitutional guarantee of equality. It is violative of the fundamental principles and provisions of criminal law. States are not bound by such unconstitutional directives of the Home Minister," he said Shinde, he said, had only the religious minorities and not the linguistic minorities in mind as he expects states to set up review committees to deal only with cases against a category of citizens and not all persons facing terrorism charges.
"This raises certain fundamental questions as regards the propriety and the legality of the move initiated by the Home Minister. The move is clearly political," he said.
He cited cases of Islamist groups, majority community members and even Maoists who are accused in terror cases and questioned whether Shinde's proposal includes them as well.
"A crime does not cease to be a crime because a criminal practices a particular faith," he said and wondered whether cases against Hindus, who are a minority in the northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, would also be reviewed.