37 views • Sep 25th, 2020
The Government of India enacted the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 to prevent terrorism activities to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country. In this article, we will discuss What is UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and the application, limitations, and controversies of the same.
India was engaged in an external war with China in 1962. But at that time India was disturbed internally too. C N Annadurai from Tamil Nadu, the founder of the political party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was demanding a separate Tamil country. India was literally in dire straits due to double-sided disturbances. That was the time when the lawmakers conceptualized to combat such internal unlawful activities.
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act is the output of the recommendations of the National Integration Council. The UAPA came into existence by the 16th Amendment Act, 1963. The law was basically introduced to tackle a wide range of domestic disturbances by enforcing restrictions on the Fundamental Rights of citizens of India.
UAPA basically restricts three Fundamental Rights:
If an individual, organization, or body intends to bring a cession or secession of a part of the territory of India or executes any step to pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, then the individual or body will be involved in Unlawful Activity.
Chronology National Security Laws in India
The amendments in UAPA were introduced for the first time in 2004. Thereafter, UAPA passed through several amendments in 2008, 2012, and most recently in 2019.
It is to be noted that several modifications have been made over the years, which made UAPA more strict in the process.
There are three conditions:
The recent amendment in UAPA in 2019 sparked much controversy as it gives the central government a supreme power to declare anyone terrorist‘ on any ground of opposition by using fabricated pieces of evidence. It could come out as an instrument of the state-sanctioned programme of suppression on anyone who opposes the government.
The above data clearly shows us the extent of misuse of UAPA of the future of the same.
Let’s take the example of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid and two students of JNU Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar were charged under UAPA by Delhi Police for hatching a conspiracy to incite communal violence. But where are the real culprits whose faces were captured in CCTV footage? Why is UAPA not being charged against the identified individuals?
We could witness another plot of misuse of UAPA. Police used section 13 of UAPA to charge many individuals who were trying to access social media through VPN’s to bypass the internet ban imposed by the government when it invoked Article 370.
There are too many examples to mention. But the UAPA amendments become more significant in the context of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
There should be a perfect balance in the creation of a safe and sound society by proving security and maintaining citizen’s rights. Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, amendment 2019 would be snatching fundamental rights of a citizen in the pursuit of a safe Nation. But how can a Nation remain safe if it’s right to speech is taken away? It also denies the judicial principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
On the other hand, this modified form of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act would restrict free and unbiased journalism. The plight of Indian journalism already touched the bottom line as India is ranked at 142 on the World Press Freedom Index 2020. Thus UAPA is structured to destructure the fourth estate, the pillar of democracy.
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