Explained: What is NIA Act, and why is Chhattisgarh challenging it?

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News:The Chhattisgarh state government has moved the Supreme Court against the 2008 National Investigative Agency(NIA) Actnstating it is violative of the Constitution.

Facts:

About the NIA Act,2008:

  • National Investigation Agency(NIA) is a central counter terrorism agency established by the Indian Government under the National Investigative Agency (NIA) Act,2008.
  • The Act makes the NIA the only truly federal agency in the country along the lines of the FBI in the United States and more powerful than the CBI.
  • It gives the NIA powers to take suo motu cognizance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case to enter any state without permission from the state government and to investigate and arrest people.

Chhattisgarh Government objections:

  • The Chhattisgarh government has said that the Act is ultra vires of the Constitution and beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament.
  • The Act allows the Centre to create an agency for investigation which is a function of the state police.‘Police’ is an entry in the State List of the Constitution’s 7th Schedule.
  • The act also leave no room of coordination and pre-condition of consent, in any form whatsoever by the Centre from the State govt. which clearly repudiates the idea of state sovereignty as envisaged under the Constitution.

Additional information:

About NIA Amendment Bill,2019:

  • Parliament has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill,2019.
  • The bill enable NIA to additionally investigate offences related to (a)human trafficking (b)counterfeit currency (c)manufacture or sale of prohibited arms (d)cyber-terrorism and (e)offences under the Explosive Substances Act,1908.
  • It also gives NIA officers the power to investigate offences committed outside India.But the NIA’s jurisdiction will be subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
  • Further,the bill also enables the Central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for such trials.