Tharoor Moves Private Members Bill to Repeal UAPA

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Shashi Tharoor. — File photo

The UAPA has become the tool of abuse for the state, said the Congress leader adding that 66 per cent of arrests under it do not involve any violence at all while the conviction rate under this Act is merely 2.4 per cent.

NEW DELHI — Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday moved a Private Members Bill to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Repeal Bill, 2022 seeks to annul the UAPA, 1967.

Claiming that the UAPA has become the tool of abuse for the state, he said that 66 per cent of arrests under it do not involve any violence at all while the conviction rate under this Act is merely 2.4 per cent.

“Today I introduced a Private Member’s Bill to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It’s a tool of abuse in which 66% of cases involve no violence, 56% are detained w/no charge-sheet for two years, & conviction rate since 2014 is an abysmal 2.4%. A blot on our democracy,” Tharoor tweeted after moving the Bill in the Lower House.

Tharoor’s Bill also stated that after the 2019 amendment to the UAPA by the Centre, the state now has the power to designate individuals as “terrorists”.

In the statement of objects and reason of the Bill, he said, “The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) has opened the door to a gross abuse of power that is in contravention of the standards set by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and international counter-terrorism legislation. As per the 2019 amendment to the UAPA, the state now commands the power to designate individual as ‘terrorists’, which was previously restricted to naming groups as ‘terrorist organisations’.”

Tharoor further said that the UAPA interferes with the privacy and liberty of individuals, and contravenes constitutionally mandated provisions which protect against arbitrary or unlawful interference with a person’s privacy. The Act also allows for searches, seizures, and arrests based on the “personal knowledge” of the police without written validation from a superior judicial authority, he added.

UAPA is a primarily counter-terror law in India which was originally enacted in 1967 by then Congress government.

The amended UAPA now debars the accused’s right to bail and the Court is bound by the documents produced by the police probe teams.

There has been severe criticism of this Act and even the Supreme Court had asked the Centre if the country still needs such a law. — IANS

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