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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 09 March, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

‘Compensate those acquitted under UAPA’

‘Compensate those acquitted under UAPA’

  • A local court in Surat acquitted 122 persons arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for participating in a meeting organised in December 2001 as members of Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned outfit.
  • After their acquittal, some of the accused, and also activists from the minority community, demanded that they be compensated for being “illegally framed by the police” without any evidence against them.
  • “Many of them spent years in jail while facing trial ... They should be compensated,” an activist belonging to the minority community said.

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967

  • Unlawful Activity refers to any action taken by individual or association whether by action/ words spoken/ written/signs to questions disrupts the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • It is an enhancement of TADA, 1995 and POTA, 2004. It was enacted during Indira Gandhi.
  • The National Integration Council (headed by PM) appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation. Pursuant to this Committee, 16th CAA, 1963 was enacted to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in Art 19 (Speech, Association, Assembly) in the interests of integrity and sovereignty of India. And to implement the provisions of 1963 Constitution Amendment Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was enacted in 1967.

UAPA, 1967

NIA Amendment Act, 2019

  1. It aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities across India and abroad.
  2. Its main objective was to provide powers to Central Agencies and States to deal with terrorist activities directed against integrity and sovereignty of India.
  3. Center may designate an organization as a terrorist organization.
  4. It is applicable across the entire country.
  5. Any Indian or Foreign National charged under UAPA is liable for punishment under UAPA, 1967.
  6. It is applicable even if the crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  7. Persons on ships and aircrafts registered in India.
  1. It amended Schedule 4 of UAPA which will allow NIA to designate Individuals as terrorist.
  2. It empowers DG of NIA to seize properties (which previously required permission from DGP).
  3. It allows NIA officers (Inspector and above) to investigate the cases. Earlier only DSP or ACP and above could investigate.
  4. MHA declared 4 individuals as terrorists
    1. Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar
    2. Lashkar e Taiba - Hafiz Saeed, Rehman Lakhvi
    3. Dawood Ibrahim

Analysis

  • According to NCRB data, 922 cases were reported under UAPA in 2016, which was 5% less than 2014 (976 cases).
  • India faces 1 of the highest threats of terrorism and hence, anti terrorism mechanism must be stringent.
  • NIA is a specialized agency and cannot be dependent on state police for approval of seizure of property.
  • It would quicken the delivery of justice.
  • It would address the activities done by Lone Wolf who does not belong to any organization.
  • It would also give impetus to India's demand to designate Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed as terrorists in International Org.
  • But on the other hand, there are concerns of misuse of unfettered powers given to investigative agencies. Opposition says it could also be used against political opponents.

Way Forward

  • It is important to set up a Review Committee to examine this process for fairness and objectivity.
  • There is a greater role for judiciary to carefully examine cases of misuse. Also Judicial Review.
  • There should be balance between individual freedom and state obligation to provide security.

Source: TH


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