SDPI strongly opposes amendment in NIA Bill; Demands repeal of UAPA
New Delhi 11 July 2019: The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has strongly opposed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment), Bill 2019 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, as it amounts to violation of fundamental rights of an individual as enshrined in the Constitution. Instead of amending the Act it should be repealed forthwith. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2019 introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy seeks to empower the governments to designate individuals as terrorists. This law has been so far misused by successive governments to ban opposing organisations after putting terrorist tag on them.
SDPI national president M. K. Faizy in a statement said that tagging of individuals with suspected terror links as terrorists by adding the word “individual” to Chapter VI of the original act as it violated the Fundamental Rights of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution. Faizy said the UAPA is not meant for debarring the people from well-established legal procedure of general law and confining them in jail. The burden of proof usually falls on the police, but under the UAPA, the burden is on the person accused to prove his innocence. Eventually, acquittals might happen but a considerable time passes by and the person’s life is ruined. The accused has to go through a long legal process and incarceration by the time he is acquitted. This could change his life and cause problems in re-integrating him into society. The scars of such an experience can last for a long time in the mind of the victim. The law does not have the provision for anticipatory bail. Bail is difficult because you have to prove prima facie that there is no case. The amendment Bill has provisions that permit the investigating agency six months’ time to file charge-sheet as against the three months at present, the statement said.
Faizy said that The UAPA was a misused draconian law and a number of youngsters have been put behind bars, sometimes belonging to a particular community, on frivolous charges. The tagging of individuals will only set the stage for political vendetta. The 2008 amendment of UAPA has already made it highly controversial. It provided the governments ample powers to act against citizen’s fundamental rights. As it was feared by civil right organizations from the very beginning, law was widely misused predominantly to target Minorities, Dalits, Human Rights Activists and People with dissenting voices, Faizy added.
It may be mentioned here that 98 per cent of the cases under UAPA were still pending in courts, the record of Modi government on the civil rights has been very controversial. The renounced civil activists, lawyers and intellectuals have been booked branding them as urban Naxals on account of their diverting and divergent views. The Modi government wanted to make law more lethal to curl the activists of the opponents, which S.D.P.I opposes tooth and nail urges all political parties to stand united to save the freedom and fundamental rights in the country, Faizy added.
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