Ojaank IAS Academy

OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

A Terror Law Less Arbitrary

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The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 strives to effectively prevent unlawful activity associations in India. The Act grants the central government unlimited jurisdiction, and if the Centre considers an action to be illegal, it may proclaim it such in an Official Gazette. The death sentence and life imprisonment are the most severe punishments.

Both Indian and international nationals can be prosecuted under UAPA. It will apply to offenders in the same way, even if the offence is committed in a foreign country outside of India. Under the UAPA, the investigative agency has 180 days after the arrests to file a charge sheet, which can be extended further by informing the court.

According to a 2022 PUCL analysis, less than 3% of UAPA arrests resulted in convictions between 2015 and 2020. According to the research, just 1,080 of the 4,690 persons imprisoned under the UAPA between 2018 and 2020 were granted bail. TADA and POTA were previous Terror Laws. They were renowned for their long pretrial detention, in-custody torture, false prosecutions, and forced confessions. Minority community members were disproportionately affected.

Political dissidents have been prosecuted under anti-terror legislation. In 2022, India opposed to the inclusion of “right-wing extremism” and “violent nationalism” in the UN General Assembly Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy definition of terrorism. Words like “terrorist act,” “unlawful action,” “advocacy,” “conspiracy,” “likely to menace,” and “likely to strike fear” have been phrased broadly and appear to confer arbitrary powers on authorities.

There is a lack of prosecution standards: The statute provides for a reliance solely on police cases. Unlike TADA and POTA, UAPA has never been examined by the courts. Shaheen Welfare Association v Union of India, 1996: Classifying TADA inmates into four separate categories in order to issue bail. Kartar Singh v. Punjab State, 1994): Creating state and national review panels to avoid TADA abuse

The court has failed to offer effective safeguards against arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions, and prolonged pretrial imprisonment. The Court’s decision in NIA v Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali (2020) has made bail extremely hard to obtain.

Judge RohintonNariman asked the SC to strike down “the obnoxious provisions of the UAPA”. The discussion about UAPA must extend beyond the legality of a few specific provisions: The aim and scope of the law must be carefully examined.

The Court must decide whether the scope and implications of UAPA are significantly out of proportion to its stated purposes. The capacity to identify, neutralise, and prosecute terrorists should be prioritised. The authorities, however, must be subject to strict, unambiguous rules and impartial scrutiny. The Court must grasp the chances afforded by challenges to define the law’s goals accurately.


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