NIA and Civil Aviation Security | 24 Nov 2023

For Prelims: NIA and Civil Aviation Security, National Investigation Agency (NIA), Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Terrorism, Insurgency, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

For Mains: NIA and Civil Aviation Security, Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case against a Khalistani Terrorist and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) founder over the Air India threat.

What is the National Investigation Agency (NIA)?

  • About:
    • The NIA is a federal agency of the Indian government responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes related to Terrorism, Insurgency, and other national security matters.
      • Federal agencies in a country typically have jurisdiction over matters that affect the country as a whole, rather than just individual states or provinces.
    • It was established in 2009 following the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008, operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
      • The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed in July 2019, amending the NIA Act, 2008.
  • Function:
    • The NIA has the power to take over investigations of terrorism-related cases from state police forces and other agencies. It also has the authority to investigate cases across state boundaries without obtaining prior permission from state governments.
    • It coordinates with other law enforcement agencies, both within India and internationally, in matters related to terrorism and national security.
  • Probe:
    • The State government can refer cases related to scheduled offences to the Central government for NIA investigation under Section 6 of the NIA Act 2008.
    • The Central government can also direct the NIA to investigate a scheduled offence, either within or outside India, on its own accord.
    • For prosecuting the accused under the UAPA and certain other scheduled offences, the NIA seeks the sanction of the Central government.
    • There is a special cell to deal with LWE (Left Wing Extremism) cases related to terror financing. During the investigation of a scheduled offence, the NIA can also investigate any other offence connected to it. Finally, after investigation, the cases are presented before the NIA Special Court.

What is Aviation Security and How is it Regulated in India?

  • About:
    • Civil aviation security refers to the measures and protocols implemented to safeguard civil aviation against unlawful interference, such as terrorist attacks, hijackings, sabotage, and other threats.
    • These security measures aim to ensure the safety of passengers, crew, aircraft, and airport facilities.
  • Regulating Bodies:
      • The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) is the national regulator for civil aviation security in India. 
        • The BCAS was initially set up as a Cell in the DGCA in January 1978 on the recommendation of the Pande Committee. The BCAS was reorganized into an independent department under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 1987.
      • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulates air transport services to, from, and within India. It also enforces civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards.
  • Rules:
    • The Ministry of Civil Aviation has introduced the Aircraft (Security) Rules, 2023 to enhance civil aviation security in line with international conventions.
  • Convention on International Civil Aviation:
    • It is commonly known as the Chicago Convention, established in 1944 under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
    • The Chicago Convention serves as the foundational treaty for international civil aviation. It outlines principles and standards for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation and includes provisions related to aviation security.