UAPA invoked against accused of Gorakhnath Temple attack
- The UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against Gorakhnath Temple attack accused
- It will allow the investigating agencies to get a longer remand of the accused and an extended duration to file a charge sheet.
Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act (UAPA)
- It was enacted in 1967 to target separatist organisations
- It gives special procedures to handle terrorist activities, among other things.
- Aim: effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
- Unlawful activity: it refers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India
- Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged under the act
- The offenders will be charged in the same manner whether the act is performed in a foreign land, outside India.
- The amendment done in 2019 in the act allowed an individual to be designated as a terrorist by the central government if it believes that he is involved in terrorism
- Death penalty and life imprisonment the highest form of punishment under the act
- NIA and state police are designated to carry out investigation against the terrorists
- The investigating agency has up to 180 days to file a charge sheet so getting bail is very tough.
Need of UAPA
- UAPA has been enacted to provide for more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of associations and individuals and for dealing with terrorist activities
Benefits of UAPA
- It makes the process smooth to designate an individual as a terrorist in line with international practices
- It facilitates speedy investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences.
- It prevents certain illegal acts of people and organizations especially related to terrorism
- Infringement of Rights: The right to dissent, the rule of law, and a fair trial are all infringed by this act.
- Lesser conviction rate: According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 4,231 FIRs were registered under various provisions of the UAPA between 2016 and 2019, with 112 cases resulting in convictions.
- Violation of Fundamental Right: This law violates our fundamental right to free speech because there is no solid proof and no prospect for a fair trial.
This law is very much helpful in designating and prosecuting offenders of national sovereignty and integrity but it must be balanced with Right to free trial and Right to speech of an individual to prove his/her innocence
- Right to Speech and free trial
Q While the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act( UAPA) is very much helpful in faster prosecution of offenders of national sovereignty ,it also violates the fundamental rights of an individual. Critically analyse.