Human Rights

Two laws enacted after 26/11 attack up for review

Two laws hurriedly enacted in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to shore up India’s capacity to deal with future terror strikes are up for a review. The government is considering changes in the two legislations - the National Investigation Agency Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act - passed by Parliament within weeks of the attack. The first law created the federal agency, the NIA, the second introduced stringent provisions in UAPA including those providing for detention of terrorists for 180 days and denial of bail to a foreigner accused of terror acts in India. Urging MPs to pass the two laws to strengthen the legal framework to deal with terrorists without delay in December 2008, home minister P Chidambaram had promised to come back to Parliament for changes to the laws if needed. Officials suggest this stage appeared to have arrived. “Yes, we are reviewing changes that need to be made to UAPA Act,” a senior home ministry official confirmed, adding that this would be more in the nature of tweaking the laws rather than overhauling them. “This law was enacted in a hurry and can do with smoothening the rough edges,” the official said, refusing to elaborate on the specific details.

The National Investigation Agency has also started knocking at the home ministry’s doors with a list of changes that need to be made to the law that created the agency. The home ministry hasn’t yet taken a decision on the NIA’s wish-list. An official said the home ministry was still in discussions with the NIA over the proposed amendments and evaluate the necessary changes. For one, the NIA wants Parliament to allow the agency to let an inspector-rank officer be designated as the investigating officer rather than a deputy superintendent of police.

MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2011 on page no. 11

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