Topic– Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
5) With its loose language and ambiguous words, the UAPA creates a climate in which the focus shifts from individuals and crimes to groups and ideologies. Critically analyze.(250 words)
Why this question
UAPA has been severely criticized for its draconian provisions, which have been used recently to arrest several persons across the country for their alleged links with naxalism. It is therefore important to understand the act and its provisions.
Critically analyze-here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the UAPA and bring out why it has an ambiguous language and how that shifts the focus from individuals and crimes to groups and ideology. Based on our discussion we have to form an integrated opinion on the issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about UAPA and article 19 of the Indian constitution – e.g when it was enacted and any amendments etc. Mention that the UAPA has been criticized for having a loose language and ambiguous words, which creates a climate in which the focus shifts from individuals and crimes to groups and ideologies.
- Discuss how the act has an ambiguous language. E.g There is no definition of terrorism that has been provided. Terrorist Act has been defined under Section 15 and according to Section 2(k), the definition of a terrorist has to be construed according. This has a huge logical fallacy as this provides for a wide scope of interpretation which can be used and abused by the Government of the day; Under subsection 1 of section 3, chapter 2, if the central government is of the opinion that an activity is unlawful then it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare it so etc.
- Discuss how the act shifts the focus from individuals and crime to groups and ideologies. E.g The wording of the UAPA, with references to “any combination of persons”, is vague and unhelpful. Second, the UAPA uses a number of broad terms that overlap with each other. Section 20 criminalises “membership” of a terrorist organisation; Section 38 uses the terms “associating” or “professing to be associated” with a terrorist organisation; and Section 39 criminalises “support” to a terrorist organisation, and includes “inviting” support as well as organising a “meeting” to support the terrorist organisation; the UAPA punishes both “unlawful activities” and “terrorist acts”, but the definitions tend to overlap etc.
Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. e.g laws and statutes allowing wide discretion to state agencies and to judges should be interpreted narrowly, and judicial doctrines marking the line between criminal conduct and the permissible exercise of fundamental rights should be clear etc.