Federal law to help NIA fight terror likely: Moily

Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 16:08

New Delhi: Dubbing terrorism as "an
undeclared war" on humanity, Law Minister Veerappa Moily on Saturday said the Centre was likely to enact a federal law to enable
the newly set up National Investigation Agency (NIA) to fight
the scourge.

"Looking into the inter-state and international nature
of terrorism, the need was felt to create the NIA and it is
important to have a federal law, which is quite possible. I
have recommended it in the Administrative Reforms Commission
(ARC) report," he said inaugurating a conference on `The
Constitution and Anti-Terror Laws` here.

"This is an undeclared war, lets not forget about it.
We have to address terrorism without any hesitation," he said
at the event jointly organised by Rashtriya Jagriti Sansthan,
South Asia Politics and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German
organisation.

Referring to the Constitutional protection vis-a-vis
anti-terror laws, the Minister, referring to the landmark D K
Basu versus Bengal case, said encounter was not an answer,
though some thought it was due to the delays in criminal
justice system.

"Unless the criminal justice system in completely
overhauled, which we would like to do in the future, it is
necessary not only to build capacity of law enforcers, but
also the judiciary," he said.

Noting that terrorist acts were aimed at destabilising
nations and its citizens, Moily said: "It is an attack on our
institutions of democracy, symbols of national pride, security
and strategic infrastructure and on civilians."

Time has come to meet the challenge head-on and not
just walk up to problem, he said adding terrorism is a
reminder for the global community to stop the rhetoric and
perform to effectively fight the menace.

Moily said terrorism posed a new challenge for law
enforcers and law makers alike and new approaches, techniques,
weapons, expertise and laws were required to fight it.

"The law makers and enforcers need to change their
mindset and will have to attune themselves to these new
challenges posed by terror," he said.

The Law Minister said the situation created by
external forces at the frontiers of the country challenged the
sovereignty and democratic polity and the UN Security Council
resolutions had called upon member-states to prevent and
suppress terrorist acts and their funding.

"Financing is an important element and if you are in a
position to cut down the terrorists` resources, 50 percent of
the problem can be solved," he said.

Moily said terrorism could not be classified as a mere
disturbance of public order. "It is not as simple as that".

Pointing out that social imbalances on the economic
front need to be address through governance to root out
terrorism, Moily said: "It is a daunting task, nevertheless
achievable."

Participating in the conference, former Home Minister
Shivraj V Patil said the criminal laws of the country were
enough to counter terrorism and that anti-terror laws such as
MISA, TADA and POTA had to be repealed as they were both "used
and abused".

However, Patil said not all provisions of POTA were
dumped by the Centre, which had incorporated aspects such as
curbing free flow of funds to terror outfits, admissibility of
electronically collected evidence in courts and creation of
special courts to hear terror cases in the existing criminal
laws.

However, draconian provisions such as admissibility of
"confessions" before police were dumped, he added.
Batting for Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in
border states facing insurgency, the former Home Minister said
it was necessary so terrorism from across the border was dealt
with effectively.

"But if there is anything obnoxious that violated
human rights in AFSPA it could be looked into and how it can
be done discussed. This is the government stand and the
present Home Minister has also stated this," he added.

Patil said nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC)
weapons, including the latest concepts of `anti-matter`,
falling into the hands of terrorists posed a fresh challenge.
"I strongly feel a new law is needed to deal with
these threats," he added.

On a common Police Act for the country, Patil said
since law and order was a state subject, the Centre`s attempt
to arrive at a consensus had not succeeded yet, despite
holding meetings of state governments in this regard.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, who presided over
the conference, came out strongly against AFSPA, particularly
Section 4 of the Act that empowered armed forces personnel to
shoot-to-kill on suspicion which could not be challenged in a
court of law.

Sangma said AFSPA was "an unlawful law" which went
against the spirit of the Constitution.

Former Chief Justice of India and National Human
Rights Commission Chairman Justice J S Verma suggested that
anti-terror laws should ensure that innocents did not suffer
at the hands of investigating agencies.

He said it was the duty of the government to make sure
that human rights were not affected by terror acts or by
enforcement agencies.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 16:08

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