ANTI TERROR LAWS IN INDIA
To find a solution or remedy to a problem, we need to ascertain the problem and its subject matter. For example, to make laws to safeguard the interest of SCs/STs, we need to first identify the SCs/STs. Or to make laws to prevent the illegal activity related to money laundering, one needs to first define the Act of money laundering and set the scope of it.
Similarly, to address the problem of Terrorism, we first need to define Terrorism and the acts which shall fall within the scope of Terrorism. Terrorism is a global menace and as such there is no universally accepted definition of Terrorism. There has been a continuous demand for a Global definition of Terrorism at UN, a definition which shall be accepted by all the countries around the globe and which shall pave the way for a strict global penal law to counter this global menace. Why we need a globally accepted definition of Terrorism? The sole reason being that the heat of terrorism is never limited to the country of its origin and in fact in most of the cases it is the neighbouring and other countries which fall victim of the terrorist activities arising from a country. In spite of it demanding a serious and urgent attention, there has been no serious progress in this direction at the global stage. The lack of strict legislation at global stage to counter terrorism has helped many countries around the globe to use Terrorism and Terrorist activities as a tool to accomplish their interests and propagandas and still escape the liability of it.
Thus, the countries, most affected by this menace, have not only defined it but also formulated their own laws to counter it.
India has over the years formulated various Anti Terror legislations:
1. TADA: Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, 1987.
- Restriction on the grant of bail.
- Detention of suspects and provision to attach their properties.
- Confession before a police officer was admissible as evidence under this law.
- Separate courts were set up to hear the cases filed under TADA.
- Repealed in 1995 mainly because of the misuse of the provisions of this Act by the state machinery.
2. POTA: Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, 2002.
The two incidents which invoked and demanded for a stronger and stricter Anti Terror law:
- Hijack of IC-814 airplane in the year 1999.
- Parliament Attack of 2001.
- A suspect could be detained for up to 180 days by a special court.
- This Act made fundraising for the purpose of terrorism a terrorist Act.
- A separate chapter to deal with Terrorist Organisations was included. This particular provision received flank from various political parties as
- under this provision some political organisations and some organisations backed up by some political parties fell within the definition of Terrorist
- The act was thus repealed in 2004.
3. UAPA: Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
- The government decided not to formulate any new anti terror Acts, rather it decided to strengthen the existing UAP Act of 1967.
- Consequently, to strengthen the UAPA, 1967, it was amended in 2008 and again in 2012.
- Many provisions of UAPA are same as that of TADA and POTA.
- It increased the time available to law enforcement agencies to file a charge sheet to 6 months from existing 3 months.
- The Act also widened the definition of Terrorist activities. Now offences threatening the Economic Security, Counterfeiting Indian Currency and Procurement of Weapons etc. also come within the definition of Terrorist Activities.
- This helped India to become a member of FATF (Financial Action Task Force) in 2010. It was a major diplomatic win of India over Pakistan. The task force ensures prevention of money laundering and terror funding.
In recent years Indian Legislation and Judiciary supported by the Law Enforcement Agencies have been very effective in dealing with the menace of Terrorism and have curtailed and curbed the Terrorist activities around the country. Further, the several amendments and setting up of Fast Track Courts have strengthened India’s stand against Terrorism.