Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI — The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI) strongly opposed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill (2019) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill (2019), as they amount to the violation of fundamental rights of an individual as enshrined in the Constitution.
The party said that instead of amending the UAPA, the government should repeal it forthwith, on the grounds that this law has so far been misused by successive governments to proscribe minority communities’ organisations after having declared them as terror outfits.
SDPI national president M. K. Faizy said that tagging of individuals with suspected terror links as terrorists, by adding the word “individual” to Chapter VI of the original act violates the Fundamental Rights of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution. The UAPA is not meant for debarring people from the well-established legal procedures of general law and confining them in jail. He underlined the draconian nature of the act, stating that the burden of proof usually falls on the police, but under the UAPA, the burden is on the person accused to prove his innocence. He eventually gets an acquittal, but only after spending a prime and productive part of his life in jail that causes problems re-integrating back into society.
“The scars from such an experience can last for a long time in the mind of the victim. The law does not have the provision for anticipatory bail, and bail is difficult because you have to prove prima facie that there is no case”, Faizy opined.
The SDPI leader said that the UAPA was a misused draconian law and hundreds of youngsters have been put behind bars, sometimes belonging to a particular community or based on frivolous charges.
“The tagging of individuals as “terrorists” will only set the stage for political vendetta. The 2008 amendment of UAPA has already made it highly controversial, providing the government with ample powers to act against the citizen’s fundamental rights. As it was feared by civil rights organizations from the very beginning, the law was widely misused to target Minorities, Dalits, Human Rights Activists and people with dissenting voices”, Faizy added.
It must be mentioned here that 98 per cent of the cases under UAPA are still pending in courts and the record of the government on the civil rights has been very controversial. The renowned civil activists, lawyers, and intellectuals have been booked and branded as urban Naxals on account of their dissenting views. The Modi government also wanted to make the law more lethal to check the activities of political rivals and opponents.
Faizy urged all political parties to oppose both the bills in order to protect the freedom and fundamental rights of the citizens in the country.