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Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

 

Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: UAPA- features, significance, concerns over its misuse and need.

 

Context: Bangladesh-based terror outfit — the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) — has been banned by the Centre under the anti-terror law UAPA.

 

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA):

  • This law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Act makes it a crime to support any secessionist movement or to support claims by a foreign power to what India claims as its territory.
  • The UAPA, framed in 1967, has been amended twice since: first in 2008 and then in 2012.

 

The law is contested for few draconian provisions:

  • The Act introduces a vague definition of terrorism to encompass a wide range of non-violent political activity, including political protest.
  • It empowers the government to declare an organisation as ‘terrorist’ and ban it. Mere membership of such a proscribed organisation itself becomes a criminal offence.
  • It allows detention without a chargesheet for up to 180 days and police custody can be up to 30 days.
  • It creates a strong presumption against bail and anticipatory bail is out of the question. It creates a presumption of guilt for terrorism offences merely based on the evidence allegedly seized.
  • It authorises the creation of special courts, with wide discretion to hold in-camera proceedings (closed-door hearings) and use secret witnesses but contains no sunset clause and provisions for mandatory periodic review.

 

Sources: the Hindu.