Legal Notes
UAPA Amendment Need Of The Hour Image Credit: Legal Notes
UAPA Amendment Need Of The Hour Image Credit: Legal Notes

UAPA Amendment: Need Of The Hour

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, which has received the Presidential assent after being passed in both the Houses of Parliament in the just-concluded session, empowers the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to designate an individual as a “terrorist”.

Prakash Nanda

It may be noted that this is the fourth Amendment to the original Act, enunciated way back in 1967. Earlier, it was amended in 2004, 2008 and 2013. In its earliest form, the Act allowed the government to designate any organisation as unlawful and criminalised what it called ‘unlawful activities’. Through the subsequent Amendments, it defined terrorism as a crime and granted the government the power to declare and ban organisations as terrorist. The police got enhanced powers of interrogation and made it difficult for the arrested persons to get bail.

What this means is that like any law, this Act has never remained static and has undergone changes with the change of time and rise of new challenges. And that has been the case irrespective of the government of the day.

The latest Act redefines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country. Accordingly, it empowers the NIA (in effect, the central government) to designate an individual a “terrorist” if he or she is found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror. The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette. The government is not required


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