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Designating Individuals as Terrorists
What are the features of the UAPA, 2019 amendment bill?
1. UAPA, (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2019) amendment bill focusses on the power of the government to declare any individual a terrorist for unlawful activities.
2. It permits the union government to designate any organization as a terrorist organization.
3. The government can prosecute members and supporters of such an organization, even without any hearing or procedure.
4. Such an organization can be given a post-decisional hearing by a review committee (headed by sitting or retired High Court judge) to determine whether the designation should be continued or not.
Which are the concerns?
1. This Amendment was passed in both the houses of Parliament without referring it to any select committee.
2. There was little or no real scrutiny of this amendment.
3. It was not taken as a matter for serious debate in the Parliament.
4. Weak opposition, majority, and support from regional parties to the government in the Parliament led to easy passage of the bill without significant resistance.
How is this amendment justified by the government?
1. Not designating individuals, as terrorists would give an opportunity for miscreants to circumvent the law.
2. They might gather under a different name and keep up their terror activities.
3. United Nations Security Council (UNSC) designates individuals as terrorists and India as a signatory to the United Nations Charter is bound to follow it.
Why is this amendment considered draconian in nature?
1. It violates the fundamental rights guaranteed to each individual in the Constitution under Article 21.
2. There might be negative consequences for innocent individuals convicted of terrorism without trial.
3. The neutral application of this law is questionable.
Where the government should have focused?
1. Tough laws are necessary to combat terror, but these types of amendments can be misused.
2. The government has the responsibility to preserve the fundamental rights of the people while enacting legislation on terrorism in a fair manner.