Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019,
The Indian lower house of the Parliament, the Lok Sabha deliberated on the technicalities of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 on July 23. The bill aims, as per the Government, to empower the NIA and allow the law enforcement bodies in India greater powers to investigate the threats to Indian Sovereignty.
What is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019?
- The proposed bill aims to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities and other security threats to the nation.
- While under the existing Act, the central government was allowed to designate an organization as a terrorist organization if it committed or participated in any acts of terrorism, promoted terrorism or the government had reasons to believe it was otherwise involved in terrorism. The proposed Bill has additionally empowered the central government to designate any individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
- The proposed Bill will also empower all the officers of the NIA, with the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases. Under the existing Act, investigation of cases had be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
- The proposed bill has also added the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the list of treaties within the framework of anti-terrorism. The total no. of treaties now stands at 10.
- The bill has also removed the clause which required the NIA to obtain permission from the DGP to seize any properties of individuals connected with terrorism. The officers now need to seek only the permission of the DG of the NIA.
What happens now?
Giving the NIA additional power is essential to stop terror activities all across the nation. The terrorists are evolving and it is essential that the law enforcement bodies do not languish behind in curbing them due to technicalities in their operating charter. However, it is also necessary to ensure that the powers given are not being misused and India does not become a police state.