CONCEPT – ANTI-TERROR LAWS OF INDIA (TADA, POTA, UAPA)

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CONCEPT – ANTI-TERROR LAWS OF INDIA (TADA, POTA, UAPA)

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    • TADA: The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987, was the main law used in cases of terrorism and organised crime.
      1. Problem? Rampant misuse, and hence it was allowed to lapse in 1995.
      2. Who is a Terrorist? The Act defined a “terrorist act” and “disruptive activities”, put restrictions on the grant of bail, and gave enhanced power to detain suspects and attach properties.
      3. Stringent norms: The law made a confession before a police officer admissible as evidence. Separate courts were set up to hear cases filed under TADA.
    • POTA: In wake of the 1999 IC-814 hijack and 2001 Parliament attack, a more stringent anti-terror law was asked for. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002 was enacted.
      1. Detention upto 180 days: A suspect could be detained for up to 180 days by a special court.
      2. Fundraising too a terror act: The law made fundraising for the purpose of terrorism a “terrorist act”.
      3. Gross misuse again: A separate chapter to deal with terrorist organisations was included. The Union government could add or remove any organisation from the schedule. However, reports of gross misuse of the Act by some state governments led to its repeal in 2004.
    • UAPA: In 2004, the government chose to strengthen The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. It was amended to overcome some of the difficulties in its enforcement and to update it in accordance with international commitments.
      1. Changes made: The amendment criminalised the raising of funds for a terrorist act, holding of the proceeds of terrorism, membership of a terrorist organisation, support to a terrorist organisation, and the raising of funds for a terrorist organisation.
      2. Chargesheet: It increased the time available to law-enforcement agencies to file a chargesheet to six months from three. The law was amended in 2008 after the Mumbai attacks, and again in 2012.
      3. What is a terrorist act? The definition of “terrorist act” was expanded to include offences that threaten economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency, and procurement of weapons, etc.
      4. More powers: Additional powers were granted to courts to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the value of the counterfeit Indian currency, or the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence. 
    • Criticism: In 1967, India introduced the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which allowed the State to curtail the following rights of citizens who it deemed were not acting in the national interest:
      1. Freedom of speech, and expression
      2. Right to assemble peaceably, and without arms
      3. Right to form associations, or unions.
    • During turmoil: The Congress Party introduced the UAPA at a time when the State of India was in turmoil. Indira Gandhi’s grip on power was under threat. India had only just emerged from wars with both China, and Pakistan, the economy was in crisis, the political system was in crisis, and the Congress Party itself was in crisis. The charge is that UAPA was the result of the fears of losing political power in next elections.
    • TADA for Punjab: In 1985, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) was introduced, and used to suppress anyone who raised a voice against the Indian State’s actions, specifically in Punjab. TADA effectively gave Police the power to accuse anyone of being an enemy of the state, without need of any evidence. A government who puts its citizens first would not grant such powers, even to a police force with an exemplary human rights record. In India, where the police are known for their corruption, the outcome of TADA was predictable and brutal, yet politicians enthusiastically endorsed it. 
    • POTA: In 2002, India introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and after strong opposition, it was removed in 2004. The same provisions as TADA applied, except for the fact a person could not be convicted of activities not in the national interest, on mere suspicion, without evidence.
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      PT's IAS Academy: CONCEPT – ANTI-TERROR LAWS OF INDIA (TADA, POTA, UAPA)
      CONCEPT – ANTI-TERROR LAWS OF INDIA (TADA, POTA, UAPA)
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