- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Key features of the Bill, about NIA and the need for enhanced powers.
Context: The Lok Sabha has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Key features of the Bill:
- The Bill amends the NIA Act, 2008 and provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences).
- It allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences which include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
- As per the Bill, the NIA will now have the power to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
- Jurisdiction: The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offences, across India. In addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
- The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
The Bill states that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The central government will need to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court. When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the cases will be distributed among the courts by senior-most judge.
- The state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.