Author : Prapti Deshkar, Student at Ajeenkya D Y Patil School of Law, Pune
To maintain any nation these laws are important. After independence in 1947, it was realised to have “security law” which does not deals with commonplace crime but deals with something more deeper and more threatening crime for the individuals and nation in ordinary life. It is not restricted in 2 or 3 acts but a series of act were introduced with the aim and objective of safeguarding national security and national interest. They are also known as exceptional law or necessary evil. National security 1980 act is a reflection act of PDA and MISA act.
INTRODUCTION TO UAPA ACT 1967
One of the important acts introduced then for the security of nation and against the terrorism was UAPA act 1967. It is primarily an anti terror law. This law is more stringent law than other law in India.
The National Integration Council appointed a Committee to look after such activities that are against the nation’s interest and put reasonable restriction in interest of integrity and sovereignty of the nation. After the acceptance of recommendation, the UAPA Bill was introduced in the parliament. The bill was passed and received the assent of the President on 30 December 1967. UAPA act was passed in 1967, against the unlawful terrorism activities. This act aims at effectively prevention of the activities that are unlawful or against the nation integrity and provokes the terrorist activities by individual or association. It also aimed to authorise a body with power dealing against the activities that is not in favour of integrity and sovereignty of India.
This act has been amended first in 2004 Though the act was passed in 1967 but the clause against terrorist activities were included in 2004, Prior to this act the terrorist activities were deal under the TADA and POTA act.
Thereafter the amendment was done in 2008, in this year under this act anew section was inserted section 43D where it increased the maximum period of interrogational custody of terror suspect up to 180 days, there is significant increase over 90 days allowed under section 167 of Croc. And detain any person without charge was completely vested under Indian authorities.
The next major controversial amendment was done in year 2019, the law states that any individual can be itself designated as the terrorist if he has committed or participated in any act of terrorism, prepared for terrorism, promoted terrorism, or otherwise involved in terrorism. Prior to this amendment only the organisation was to be designated as terror outfit and its membership.
This law allows the DG (Director General) of National Investigation Agency to approve the attachment and seizure of the property they want to for proceeding of terrorism. Earlier it was under the state DSP or ACP
- In the amendment of 2019, any individual may said to be said terrorist without been affiliated to any 36 terrorist organisations that have been listed in first schedule of the act.
- Under this act all powers are rested under National Investigation Bureau without interference of state they can perform their powers.
- Under this act the central government has a wide range of power to declare only with a simple notification any organisation as unlawful or terrorist organisation and may penalised for taking part in such activities or even for helping in any such activities. And the government can put the ban on such unlawful organisation.
- Police has a power to search or seize a property or arrest any person without warrant. There may be presumption of guilt. Here any individual can be detained even before committing the crime only on the bases of assumption.
- Accused can be held for 180 days before filling a charge sheet. It is almost 3 times the duration in an ordinary case.
- The special tribunal were accused under UAPA act is taken for trial has a power to reject the designation or confirm but does not have power over the adjudication. there is uncertainty in the process.
- The charged defendant is prohibited from taking bail.  The accused is not provided with the bail if the case diary and charge sheet states reasonable grounds against the accused are prima facie true.
PROBLEM IN THE ACT
The loophole of the act is that it does not properly describe the definition of terrorist, it is ambiguous. As the definition is ambiguous it gives power to central government and police officer to use its power without giving any justification. And this can lead to misuse of the power with violation of the human rights. This act is mostly challenged on the basis of that it is in violation of human right.
The fundament right of an individual that is article 21 and article 14. The police and investigation agency under the act practice arbitrary powers. This act is mainly targeting the minors. The bill is in violation of article 14 and 21 of the constitution. As it takes away the power of an individual of fair trial. under this bill the NIA is not bound to follow article 22 of constitution where the accused is to be present for trail within 24 hours and section of CrPC
And the judiciary here comes under the burden for the interpretation of the vague law definition and have to make it sure that there is no violation of legality. This is in violation of principle of maximum certainty.
The act has been criticised mostly for The recent amendment that provides central government and investigation body discretionary power against the people expressing dissents. It is criticised that is does not fulfil the test of legality and proper legal procedure.
MISUSE OF UAPA ACT
As the act has so many loop whole which need to be looked after. as with giving of power to the authorities without proper procedure, the power may be misused. It is criticised that government has open a clear gateway for the misuse of the law it has also been called over board and vague by the critics.
The data available with the National Crime Records Bureau Report 2018 suggests that the conviction rate of those prosecuted under UAPA was as low as 14.5% in 2015 and as high as 49.3% in 2017. The total number of persons arrested in 2018 was 1,421; other relevant data includes those charge-sheeted (853), convicted (35), discharged (23) and acquitted (117). Clearly, the rate of conviction in 2018 was less than 30%. Of those convicted by the trial court, several may well be acquitted by the appellate court, making the rate of conviction abysmally low.
From the above data it clear that the investigation officers are just dragging people under this act. Many of them were kept in custody for years before acquittal without giving a justification. And under the act accused is not provided with the provision of bail and during that period he cannot be heard. People here are charged for talking about their opinion.
ONE OF THE RECENT CASES FILED UNDER THIS ACT
Case of Delhi riots:
Delhi already has a history of communal tensions in February 2020 a JNU student Umar Khalid with other 15 people has been arrested under UAPA act. He was arrest under the provision of provoking the public in larger and alleged behind the “large conspiracy” riot. It was believed that speech of Umar Khalid has provoked public to come on street for riot. This riot was against the CAA bill, the protests was against government to destroy them and disintegrates in order to compel to withdraw the CAA. The riot has caused allot of property damages and death of people and 150 plus people were injured. After the 2019 amendment any individual can be designated as terrorist. The law has been used in cases other than those of conventional ‘terrorism’ or ‘terrorist acts’. It has of late been invoked against activists, student leaders, and journalists. It is mostly observed that the investigation authority is generally targeting any person from these fields some of the cases were Bhima koregaon, two journalists from kashmir, some JNU students etc.
The base of the case investigation was on FIR 59 of 2020, the case was registered under section of IPC 302, 153A, 124A. And under section 13, 16, 17 and 18 of the UAPA act. Here police have claimed to have evidence against the form of whatsapp chat (e- evidence). From the evidence it was observed that the riot and provoking people for riot was already pre planned. And for the execution of the conspiracy the accused has received funds from India and overseas.
Umar Khalid and other has been punished for 7 years of imprisonment under section 13 of UAPA act. And under section 16 of UAPA act if there is any injury to anyone’s property or death or injury the person can be punished for life imprisonment or death. Under section 17 and section 18 of UAPA act the person is punished for raising funds for conspiracy behind terrorist activities. Currently status of the case is that the accused is in judicial custody till 22 October 2020.
This act is very controversial from both the side. As we look in to the strictness of the act for which it is so much criticised , being a anti terrorist act it is some where it is supposed to be strict to maintain the peace , integration and sovereignty of the nation. The problem lies in the procedure as there is no one to supervise the abuse of the act. It is also observed that the police in the investigation are having lack of knowledge about the act which may leads to misuse them. As the act lack in natural justice as it does not give the arrested person right to be heard in the court. We should not forget one of the main statement of the legal procedure that “let the 100 guilty be acquitted, but no innocent should not be convicted or punished“. The in this act he procedure of trail and investigation itself is punishment for an individual.
 https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1967-37.pdf ; section 43D of UAPA act
 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Section 5.
 9 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Section 43D(5); Jigbanshu Paul v. National Investigation Agency
 Hindustan times; https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/uapa-when-laws-turn-oppressive/story-d9d7OEO50LQjLZs3Ba5pzI.html