"The drafting of this bill appears to be the handiwork of those social entrepreneurs who have learnt from the Gujarat experience of how to fix senior leaders even when they are not liable for an offence," Jaitley said.
Dubbing it as a law fraught with dangerous consequences, he said it was bound to be misused and will encourage minority communalism.
The BJP leader said the draft bill proceeded on the assumption that communal trouble was created only by members of the majority community and offences committed by them against the minority community were punishable. "No member of the majority community can ever be a victim. This draft law thus proceeds on an assumption which redefines the offences in a highly discriminatory manner," he said.
Jaitley argued that it could open up huge scope for abuse and incentivise members of certain communities to commit offences. "Terrorist groups may no longer indulge in terrorist violence. They will be incentivised to create communal riots due to the statutory assumption that members of a Jihadi group will not be punished under this law," he said.
The bill, under which a "group" means a religious or linguistic minority and in a given state may include Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, creates a set of new offences. "The most vital definition of the bill is of the expression group," Jaitley said.
Listing out some offences, he said the draft bill prescribed that a person is said to commit sexual assault through such an act against a person belonging to a 'group,' hate propaganda was an offence when a person through oral or written communication caused hate against a 'group' or a person belonging to a 'group' and any person acting under the influence of an association engages in unlawful activity directed against a 'group' was guilty of organised communal and targeted violence.
Further, a clause provides for punishment of a person who expends or supplies money in the furtherance or support of an offence against a 'group' and under another an offence of torture is made out where a public servant inflicts pain or a suffering on a person belonging to a 'group'.
Alleging that the bill, if passed in the present form, would damage the federal polity of the country, he said the Centre was not empowered to deal or legislate on law and order, a state subject. He pointed out that the central government's jurisdiction restricted itself to issue advisories, directions and eventually forming an opinion under Article 356 that governance of the state can be carried on in accordance with the Constitution or not.