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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: The Central Government has extended the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for another five years under sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) with immediate effect.

 

What necessitated this?

The notification states that the LTTE’s continued violent and disruptive activities are prejudicial to the integrity and sovereignty of India; and it continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture as also continues to pose a grave threat to the security of Indian nationals.

 

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.

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