Goondas Act

In light of several persons protesting against the burial or cremation of patients who had died of COVID-19, authorities in Tamil Nadu are to arrest such persons under the Goondas Act.

About Goondas Act

Goondas Act is a type of preventive detention law that was first enacted in 1923 in Bengal. The law is used in several forms in several states for ‘preventive detention of habitual offenders’. This enables the authorities to imprison persons without having to provide for a court trial. Historically, these acts were criticised for its use in detaining people who showed political dissent.

TN’s Goondas Act

Goondas Act in Tamil Nadu is known as the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Forest Offenders, Sand Offenders, Slum-Grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982. Even a single offence under the act enables the authorities to detain a person as a goonda.

Other States

  • Madhya Pradesh’s Central Provinces and Berar Goondas Act- was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1960.
  • Uttar Pradesh Control of Goondas Act- covers offenders like house grabbers, eve-teasers, those convicted under public gambling act, etc.
  • Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum-Grabbers Act.
  • Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, etc.



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