New Delhi: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. The bill, introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah, received votes of 147 MPs in favour while 42 MPs opposed it. The Bill will become an Act once President Ran Nath Kovind signs it.
The bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 24, provides for special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, and empowered the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the grounds of terrorism.
Here are some key features of the amended bill:
What comes under terrorism: Under the act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it commits or participates in acts of terrorism, or prepares for terrorism, or promotes terrorism, or is otherwise involved in terrorism. Additionally, the bill allows the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
Approvals to be taken by NIA: Under the act, 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. The bill also mandates that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director-General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
Investigation process to be followed by NIA: Under the act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police. The bill also empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or officers holding higher posts, to investigate cases.
Insertion to the schedule of treaties: In this, terrorist acts include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the act. The schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, 1997, and the Convention against Taking of Hostages, 1979.
The Bill has added one more treaty to the list-- the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, 2005.
(With information inputs from PRS India)