Demand for Repeal of UAPA
- 22 Oct 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, major Opposition parties have demanded the repeal of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 after the arrest of Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old tribal rights activist, under the UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case.
- According to the Ministry of Home Affairs data, placed before the Parliament, there has been a steady increase in the number of those arrested under the UAPA.
- In 2016, 999 people were arrested, in 2017, 1,054 were arrested, while in 2018 1,031 were arrested.
- However, the conviction rate in UAPA cases was found to be less than 25%.
- Also, in almost 43% of cases, the charge sheet has taken more than a year or two to be filed.
- UAPA was passed in 1967. It aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
- Unlawful activity refers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
- The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
- It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
- Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
- Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
- The 2004 amendment, added “terrorist act" to the list of offences to ban organisations for terrorist activities, under which 34 outfits were banned.
- Till 2004, “unlawful" activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory.
- In August 2019, Parliament cleared the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 to designate individuals as terrorists if the individual commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes terrorism or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
- The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
- The Act also empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.