The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was passed in the year 1967 under the Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi . UAPA is an Indian law which aims to prevent the unlawful activities in India and associated with India. It effectively prevents the unlawful activities associated in India. It is also known as Anti-Terror law. In 2004, the amendment included the punishment for the terrorist activities.
Unlawful Activities refers to all those actions by an individual or associations with an aim to disturb by the integrity and sovereignty of the territory of India. The central government has given the absolute power through this act. The central government may declare in the official Gazette if it finds or sees any unlawful activity in India. The person committing unlawful activity can be highest punished by death penalty or life imprisonment.
The main objective of unlawful activities prevention act is to give powers to the person in power to deal with the unlawful activities in India which are against the country’s integrity and sovereignty.
A committee was formed on National Integration and Regionalism by the National Integration Council (NIC) to look into the issue of unlawful activities .
The bill received its assent by the president on 30 December 1967 after the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha ( Both the Houses of Parliament). The unlawful activities prevention act has been amended in 2004, 2008, 2012 and latest in 2019.
According to the home ministry of India, when the bill was presented before the parliament then there has been increase in the arrest by those who comes under the ambit of the act. According to the union home ministry, in March 2021, 2.2 per cent of the cases registered under the UAPA between 2016 and 2019 ended in conviction by courts.
Under the act, Indian as well as foreign nationals can be charged. the crime in foreign land, outside India will also be tackled in same manner as the crime in India by the offenders. The charge sheet can be filed by the investigating agency under this act in maximum 180 days after the arrest. By intimating the court the days can be extended further after. in 2004 amendment, 34 outfits were banned when added “terrorist act” to the list of offence. It also banned the organisation related to terrorist activities.
Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act ,1967 (UAPA) gives for the punishment for unlawful activities-
(1) Whoever is involved in committing the crime, who advocates, abets, advices or incites a person for doing the wrongful act shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to seven years and shall also liable to fine.
(2) Whoever assisting the person doing the unlawful act under section 3 shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years, or with fine or with both.
The parliament cleared the unlawful activities prevention act bill, 2019 in August to consider on terrorist on certain grounds mentioned in the act. The act empowers the Director General (DG) of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the National Investigating Agency.
The act gives the powers to the officers of the National Investigating Agency and empowers them, of the rank of inspector or above, to investigate the case of terrorism with the DSP and ACP or above rank officers in the state under section 43. The Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019 defines the word “terrorist” to incorporate individual under section 35 and 36 of the Act. It gives National Investigating Agency’s Director-General (DG) the powers to seize property from proceeds of terrorism under section 25 of the UAPA.
The people will be arrested by the National Investigating Agency officers in the following matters-
· Elgar Parishad- Bhima Koregeon case
· Citizenship Amendment Act protests
· Delhi Riots
The laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or Anti-Terror laws came out with the exceptions for the countries on lawlessness. The act go against the rights and basic requirements given under the Constitution of India, 1950, like right to freedom, equality, right to life and liberty etc.. The state is given with the exceptional powers under this act to arrest citizens, to detain them, to charge them with the offences and keep them behind the bars for more years.
The section 35 and section 36 of the act is challenged several times in the Supreme Court due to the sections constitutionality which provides excessive powers to the state altogether. The critics also asserted that the act curtails the right to dissent which is against the section 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950. A petition was filed in the court challenging the section 35 of the act to protect the civil rights. Section 35 does not specify the grounds for declaring a person a terrorist which is contrary to article 14 of the constitution of India, 1950.
Two petitions have been filed to contest the constitutional validity of Sections 35 and 36 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) as amended in 2019. The initial petition was filed by an Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), a non-profit civil rights society. Sajal Awasthi, an Indian national, filed the second one. The petitioners solicit that Sections 35 and 36 be struck down and declared unconstitutional.
The terrorism in India like the Mumbai 9/11 attacks, 2011 Delhi bombing, 2013 Hyderabad blasts and increasing cross-border insurgency in Kashmir were the major reason for bringing this topic in the Parliament resulted in the new act named the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The main motive and intension behind forming such laws is to maintain the integrity and security of the country by eliminating or punishing the terrorist activities associated with India and the government should focus on the objectives of the Act and act accordingly without paying much attention to the oppositions. The Act has been given the constitutionality by the Supreme Court but there are still many provisions in the Act which violates the fundamental rights given under the Constitution of India, 1950.
· The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
.The Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019.
· Indian kanoon website
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