NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019
Following a heated debate in the Lok Sabha, the landmark NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed. While the Bill seeks to take tougher action against terrorism, the Opposition alleges that it will make India a police state.
What are the new changes in this bill?
- The NIA can now investigate and prosecute. Under the existing 2008 Act, the NIA can investigate offenses under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. After this bill, NIA will be able to investigate offenses related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
- Under the existing Act, for all the offenses under its purview, NIA officers will have the same power as existing law enforcement agencies and these extend across the country. With the new amendment, NIA will be able to investigate offenses outside India provided we have existing treaties with them.
- The third change relates to the power of special trials courts to try offenses that come under NIA s purview (scheduled offenses). The existing Act had allowed the Centre to constitute special courts for NIA s trials but with the new Bill, the Central government will be able to designate sessions courts as special courts for such trials.
History of NIA
Following the 26/11 attacks that took several lives, the Indian Government set up the NIA to investigate and prosecute active cases of terrorism.