UAPA bill passed in RS: All you need to know

Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Bill introduced by Amit Shah in Lok Sabha. (PTI Photo)

Parliament on Friday passed the amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)  Act empowering the central government to name individuals as terrorists even as Opposition raised concerns about the possible misuse of the provisions. 

After the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment was passed by Lok Sabha earlier, the Rajya Sabha too passed it. It will become an Act after the President gives his assent. 

The main purpose of the bill is to provide special procedures to deal with terrorist activities.

“We have always said that we must have the strictest laws to deal with terror. There is a need to designate as terrorists individuals who participate in terror activities, radicalise youth and lure them into such activities, help terrorists and provide funds to terrorists. Such a provision is there in the US, China, Israel, European countries and even in Pakistan,” the home minister said.

The bill drew lots of criticism by Opposition who walked out of the Lok Sabha as a protest against the bill.

Let us know more about the bill.

What is UAPA?

UAPA is a law that prevents unlawful activities that may cause harm to the integrity and sovereignty of the government. 
 
What are the changes proposed?

Amit Shah proposed the following changes to the bill:

  • It redefined terrorist: Earlier, the central government could designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if the organisation, committed or participated in acts of terrorism, prepared for terrorism, promoted terrorism or was otherwise involved in terrorism. Now, the amendment proposes to empower the government to designate even an individual as a terrorist based on the same grounds. 
  • Seizure of property by NIA: Earlier the Act said that an investigating officer requires prior approval of Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. Now the amendment proposes that the NIA officers require the approval of the Director-General of NIA to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. 
  • Officers who can conduct Investigation: Earlier no officer below the rank of  Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police could conduct the investigation in terrorism-related cases. The bill gives authority to the NIA officers, of the rank of Inspector or above to investigate cases. 
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties: Earlier the Act defined terrorist acts, it included acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  The amendment adds another treaty to the list.  This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005). 
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