GS Paper III Mains - 2019- Question Analysis

  • Recently, anti-terrorism laws have been strengthened by amending UAPA, 1967 and NIA act. Analyse the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for the opposition of UAPA, 1967.

Mains Assignment Question

Indian government has recently strengthened the anti-terrorism laws by amending the unlawful activities (Prevention) act (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA Act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations. (250 words)

Subjects : Constitution, Polity & Governance

Answer Approach :
  • Introduction: Need for the amendments to UAPA and NIA Act
  • Body: Significance and opposition to the amendments
  • Conclusion: Solution in brief and way forward 

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In pursuance of zero-tolerance for terror, the government introduced changes in the anti-terror laws through the UAPA (Amendment) Act 2019 and NIA Act 2019.

In the context of changing security environment, the significance of the amendments made are:

  • Growing Incidents of Lone Wolves attacks: makes it imperative for India to designate individuals as terrorists and isin line with international conventions.
  • New-age militancy: witnessed in Kashmir are well organized and funded by individual hawala conduits having institutional backing. So, attaching properties helps in expediting the investigations and prosecutions.
  • Changing geopolitics of the subcontinent: poses new security threats especially with Talibanization of Gilgit-Baltistan and resultant infiltration of cross-border terrorists in the region poses new security threats.
  • Broadened Jurisdiction of NIA: becomes necessary with variedly changing nature of crimes related to counterfeit bank notes, cyber-terrorism, human trafficking etc.
  • Investigative powers to inspector rank officers of NIA: for speedy investigation process.

    However, the amendments have been opposed by human rights organization on the following grounds:

  • Ambiguous definition of terrorist act without any set procedure leaves scope for misuse as observed in Bhima Koregaon incident.
  • Impedes fundamental rights of an individual under Article 21.
  • Apart from legal, there are also negative social consequences of such a designation.
  • Questions the neutral application of the law.
  • Seeks to create a police state.

    Because of the above problems, government is instituting a 4-stage scrutiny before it designates an individual as terrorist. With 6th ranking of India in Global Terrorism Index, strict laws becomes vital to combat terrorism, however it is equally important to preserve fundamental rights of the people.