News: The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019
- The petitions have challenged the changes to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on various grounds such as-
- It infringes upon fundamental rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Indian constitution: a) freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) and b) right to life with dignity under Article 21
- It arbitrarily empowers agencies to declare a person a terrorist.
About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2019
- It amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which aims to curb certain unlawful activities including terrorist activities and related matters, carried out by individuals and associations in India and abroad.
|UAPA 1967||UAPA 2019|
|Allows the Central government to designate an organization as a terrorist organization if commits or participates in acts of terrorism, promotes terrorism, prepares for terrorism or otherwise involved in terrorism.||Further, empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds. Also, provides for putting travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists|
|Investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above||Also, empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.|
|An investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism||also empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency|
|It defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act. The Schedule lists nine treaties||Has added the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the Schedule|
- The UAPA, 1967 was enacted after 16th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1963 which empowered Parliament to impose by law reasonable restrictions under Article 19 of the constitution in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India. Parliament can impose reasonable restrictions on:
- Freedom of Speech and Expression
- Right to Assemble peacefully and without arms
- Right to form associations or unions.