Analysis of UAPA Act

In 1962 a proposition was placed before the Rajya Sabha for a separate Tamil country by then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Annadurai, but later due to the ongoing Indo-China war he let go of his proposal. It was a huge tension for the Central Government as on one side the Indo-China war was going on and on the other side the domestic crisis had appeared, so to deal with the Indo-China war a state of emergency was declared under Article 352 and to deal with this domestic crisis UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention) Act 1967 was bought into action before the upliftment of the emergency in order to restrict the freedom of the citizens.

The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was passed in 1967 by the committee set up by the National Integration Council, upon the recommendation of the council the 16th Amendment Act was bought, as per the amendment reasonable restriction was put over three fundamental rights i.e. Freedom of Speech and Expression, Right to Assemble peacefully and Right to form Association and Unions. UAPA is an anti terror legislation, enforcement being NIA(National Investigation Agency) which is the counter terror agency of India.

UAPA was solely bought into action to curb all unlawful activity by controlling the action of any individual or organization, whose intent is to bring cessation and hence thereby disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity.

There are also other similar prevention acts:-

  • Preventive Detention Act (1950-1969)
  • Armed Forces Special Power Act (1958-till date)
  • Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(1967- till date)
  • Maintenance of Internal Security Act(1971-1977)
  • National Security Act(1980-till date)
  • Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act(1985-1995)
  • Prevention of Terrorism Act(2001-2004)

The TADA Act was bought into action to control the Punjab Terrorist Activities, and POTA Act for Kandahar Hijack and Parliament Attack but due to wide scale misuse of both the acts, in 1995 TADA and 2004 POTA were repealed. These 2004 year is very vital as an important amendment act was bought, to punish the terrorist activities some dedicated chapters were introduced, so basically to fill up the vacuum that was created after the repeal of POTA Act, this certain amendment was bought to add all the features in the UAPA Act that’s why UAPA is also known as POTA 2.0. With the change in techniques and crimes pattern in terrorist attack there was various amendments bought in UAPA Act and the most recent amendment act being in 2019 in Chapter VI Section 35&36, which is lot more debatable. So, when the 2019 amendment was being passed then a strong objection was raised by the opposition and the civil liberties people about the chances of this act being misused, as this act gives total authority to the government that he can control, monitor and curb any type of descent.

To understand the amendment we need to first understand that who can be designated as terrorist? Before the 2019 Act only organizations were held liable as terrorist but after the amendment, this act was also equally applicable over individuals.

Under the recent amendment the government has the power to designate an organization as a terrorist if;

  • It commits or participates in any acts of terrorism.
  • Prepares or promotes terrorism
  • Involved in any such activity of terrorism.

This amendment was bought as whenever any such terrorist organization was banned, the members of the organization forms another new organization or starts functioning individually.

The second big change was of the detention under Section 43-D of the act which states that a individual booked upon the UAPA Act can be detained for a period of 180 days without filing for charge sheet and he will not have the right to bail.

The third change relates to the 4th Schedule of the act, so according to the UAPA Act government can brand an individual as a terrorist and book him under the 4th Schedule of the Act now this adding procedure in 4th Schedule has no due schedule but remedy is available that within 45 days an appeal can be made to the government to de-notify his/her name from the notification of 4th Schedule.

So we see here that government declaring a person as a terrorist will have no right to get a bail and will be detained for 6 months, and if an appeal has to be made then that also can be made before the same government. To declare a person as a terrorist means civil death of a person he will absolutely have no identity left. The government’s main function is to provide security protect the rights of individual, giving a safe environment to the citizens, but in the name of security if the rights are taken away then is the right way to do so.

Image Source:National Herald

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