Question: UAPA act is one of the most misused provision in Indian legal system. In context of recent developments, explain significance of UAPA Act.
Answer: Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
Misuse of UAPA Act
It is alleged that UAPA has been used by successive governments to strangle dissenting voices. The individuals and groups not adhering to government’s diktats were booked under this act. It was used as a tool to keep dissenting voices in check.
- Political vendetta
Political opponents were targeted by government in power so that their rise can be stalled. The vendetta was aimed to settle political scores and also misuse the law to strengthen their grip on power.
- Bypass Judicialprovisions
Under the Fundamental rights, supreme court has power to prevent any violation of rights of an individual. The UAPA seeks to prevent interference of Supreme Court by devising a mechanism to bypass the judiciary.
Importance of UAPA Act
- Prevent potential threat to peace
The benefits of UAPA can’t be ignored completely. It has been successful in preventing potential threats to peace by a section of society by making preventive arrests. It has reiterated the importance of predicting a violence rather than act after the incident.
- Eliminate terrorism
Under UAPA, not only groups but individuals can be designated as terrorists. By declaring terrorists, the government can put hold on financial resources received by a group or an individual. Foreign countries will also be obliged to act if a request is made.
- Target sympathisers of terrorism
Sometimes the biggest threats to violence are the sympathisers. They provide ideological, monetary, legal and other support for carrying out acts of violence. These can be avoided if such connections are identified and booked under UAPA.
Thus, UAPA is indeed an extreme form of government action but it is not totally unwarranted. The circumstances must be well defined so that misuse can be restricted.