The roots of unlawful Activities (prevention) Act,1967 can be found back to
colonial times when the criminal Law (Amendment) Act was introduced in 1908. The
intention was wide and clear to put the freedom fighters under detention through
the newly amended act.
Even After independence, the Nehru - government favoured using the provisions of
the act. It was in Ram Nandan vs The state
that the supreme court finally
held the criminal Law (Amendment) Act,1908 as unconstitutional. Through multiple
amendment in the years 1951 and 1963 The first amendment ensured the
introduction of the 9th schedule which the government once hoped to use upon any
legislation, to keep it outside the purview of the judicial review.
The 16 amendment however created a stepping stone to the enactment of UAPA in
1967 to silence down the voice that the government had to face during the 1962
indo - china war. The reasonable Restrictions of " sovereignty and integrity" of
the state were added through which the government aimed to capture away
individuals or organizations which demanded autonomy or demanded to differ from
The amendment of UAPA act will help government and intelligence to remain the
four steps of terrorist or non-state actor.
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was passed in 1967 under the prime
minister Indira Gandhi. However the law has done the half of the dozen
Amendments, the last in 2019 under the Narendra Modi government.The UAPA was
expressed as an anti - terrorism law to curb unlawful activities, association
and preserve the sovereignty and integrity of India. The amendment allowed
parliament to impose constraints on the fundamental rights of freedom of
expression, assembly without arms, and alliance. IN 1967 the UAPA granted the
central government the power to deal with activities equalized against the
sovereignty and integrity of India.
Under section 25 it gives power to the Director - General of the National
Investigation Agency to seize property from proceeds of terrorism. The UAPA, now
comprises terrorism, money laundering for terror financing and appellation of
groups, and individual as a terrorist.
The UAPA an enhancement of the TADA ( Terrorist and Disruptive Activities
(prevention) Act), which was allowed to lapse in 1995 and prevention of
Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed in 2004 was originally passed in 1967 under
the Congress government led by former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The national investigation agency (NIA) is functioning as a central counter
Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India established under NIA Act
2008.According to the act the union government may proclaim or designate and Organisation as a terrorist organization if it commit or participate in acts of
terrorism and prepare for terrorism and promote terrorism or is otherwise
involved in terrorism the bill also empires the government to designate
individual as terrorist on the same ground.
The bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by the officer of National
investigation against the approval of director general of National investigation
Agency it would be required for seizure of such properties.
The act defines terrorist act to include acts committed within the scope of any
of the treaties listed schedule to the act. The schedule list 9 treaties
comprising of the convention for the separation of terrorist bombings 1997 and
the convention against taking of hostages 1979. The bill adds another treaty to
this list namely the international convention for separation of act of nuclear
What is UAPA?
Unlawful Activities prevention Act is an Indian law aimed at prevention of
unlawful activities association in India and was passed in 1967. Its main
objective was dealing with activities directed against the integrity and
sovereignty of India. UAPA is also known as Anti - terror law.it aim at
Prevention of unlawful activities association in India.
Unlawful activities refers to any action taken by an individual or association
intended to disrupts the territorial integrity and territorial sovereignty in
India.The act assigns absolute power to the central government,by way of which
if central deems an activity as unlawful than it may,by way of an official
gazette, declare it so.
It has death penalty and imprisonment as highest punishment.
Objective of UAPA:
- To make power available for dealing with activities directed against the
sovereignty and integrity of India.
- The bill was passed by both the houses of parliament and received the
assent of the president on 30 December 1967.
- The unlawful activities prevention act has been amended in
2004,2008,2012 and 2019 since it came into force.
The UAPA Act Amended By:
- The unlawful Activities ( prevention)
Amendment Act,1969(24 of 1969).
- The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1972 (31 of 1972).
- The unlawful Activities (prevention)
Amendment Act, 2004 (29 of 2004)
- The unlawful Activities (prevention)
Amendment Act, 2008 (35 of 2008)
- Individual can also be tagged under terrorist Amendment Act, 2019.
constitutionality of the UAPA
The Fundamental Arguments Against The Amendment In 2019 Are Under Section 35
- In addition to categorise of organization or group as terrorist organization
it extinct to power to include the categorise of individuals as terrorist with
in its extent.
- The new amendment is contrary to the principal of "innocent until proven
It breaches the international covenant on civil and political rights, 1967,
which identifies the principle of universal human rights.
- The UAPA is a part of security legislation that enables the government to
arrest citizens who might commit crimes.
- No intention basis has been prepared for categories. The government has
been provided with unrestricted authorities to hold an individual as a
- It can be utilized to avoid fundamental rights and procedure. For example, without even a chart sheet file those arrested under the UAPA can be
detained for a period of 180 days therefore directly violating article 21 of the
- It confers upon the government vast discretionary powers and also
empowers the creation of special quotes with the ability to use confidential
witnesses and to hold close door earrings.
Petitions against the UAPA
Two petitions have been filed to contest the constitutional validity of section
35 and 36 of the unlawful activities prevention act 1967 as amended in 2019.
First petition was filed by an association for protection of civil rights, a non
profit civil rights society. Second petition was filed by an Indian national Sejal Awasthi. The petitioners ask that section 35 and 36 be extracted down and
Grounds For The PetitionLack Of Substantive And Procedural Process:
Section 35 allows government to list any individual as a terrorist in the fourth
schedule of the UAPA. The government can claim and notify based on major
suspicion without any process. No just hearing opportunity has been given. The
grounds on which a person can be declared a terrorist is doughtful and
unclear. while 36 allow in individual who has been label as a terrorist under the
UAPA, to appeal against the label it's execution is complicated. An individual
is not informed of the grounds for arrest. There is no condition for oral
hearing at the state of appeal.
The supreme court in Puttaswamy v. Union of India
(2017) held that the right to
life and personal liberty could only be curtailed through due process of law.
Section 35 and 36 fails due process standard.
The Law Is Arbitrary And Violates Equality
The section fails to provide sureties against the high potential of
discretionary authority. While the procedure to notify in Organisation of a
terrorist organizations has substantive safeguards. There is no clear purpose
behind the distinction between an organization and an individual, the treatment
of an individual is excessive and irrational. This does not surprise the
reasonable classification test under article 14.
Union of India v. Tulsiram Patel
(1985), contains that violation of natural
justice results in arbitrariness and disrupts Article 14.
Indirect Violation Of Free Speech
Disagreement is an indispensable features of right to free speech under article
19(1)(a) in Maqbool Fida Hossain v. Rajkumar Pandey
(2008), under the presence
of terrorism that are intended to target significant speech against the
government.The petitioners said that the Amendment gives the government
discretionary powers to restrict the or opposition voice hence the section 35
and 36 breach the right to equality under Article 14,right to freedom of speech
under article 19(1)(a) and right to life with dignity under article 21 of the
The Amendment Violates The International
Conventions by India. Specially legal principles under the international
convention on civil and political rights, United Nations special rapporteur on
the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are violated under the
In 2016,999 were arrested,in 2017, 1,054 were arrested and In 2018,1031 were
arrested. However the conviction rate in UAPA cases were found to be 25%.Also in
almost 43%of the cases,the charge sheet has taken more than a year or two to be
Under UAPA both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be
applicable to the offender in the same manner even if the crime is committed
outside the country. Under UAPA,the investigation agency can file a charge sheet
in maximum 180 days after the arrest and the duration can be extended further
after the intimating the court.
The UAPA law goes against the basic tenets of the constitution such as freedom,
equality and right to life and personal liberty.
Sajal Awasthi v. Union of India
Parties: Petitioner-Sejal Awasthi - Lawyer -Fauzia Shakil - Petitioner-
Association For Protection Of Civil Right - Lawyer- Manju Jetley
Respondent-Union Of India - Lawyers- Solicitor General Tushar Mehta - Intervenor-
Om Prakash Ajit Singh Parihar
Case number: WP ( c) 1076/ 2019
- Whether the amendment places a fetter on the right to dissent and thus violates
the right to Freedom of speech and expression under the article 19 (1)(a )?
- Whether the unilateral power of the executive under section 35 of the act to
categorise an individual as a terrorist an include them in schedule 4 goes
against the principle of the law, natural justice and the persons fundamental
right to reputation?
- Whether the 2019 amendment to the unlawful activities prevention act, 1967 is
manifested arbitrarily and violates article 14 and 21 of the constitution?
The unlawful activities prevention act (1967) means to penalised the unlawful
and terrorist activities, which creates a threat to the integrity and
sovereignty of India. It also provides the powers to the central government to
designate organizations as terrorist organization and also prescribed the
penalties for taking part in the activities of the organization.
In 2019,the parliament carried out certain amendment to the act.The most
significant changes in the amendment is brought by section 35 alter and gives
the power to notify as an individual as a terrorist under the schedule lV of the
The act has been forced in 1967, the parliament only adding a chapter towards
punishing terrorist activities in 2004 by the way of UAPA amendment act
2004,after this the amendment made in 2008 and 2013 as well. Before the UAPA,
terrorist activities were primarily dealt under the now deleted Terrorist and
Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act,1987(TADA) and prevention and terrorism
In Kartar Singh v/s State Of Punjab
, the validity of TADA was challenged
on the ground that it deal with the issue of " public order" which was within
the legislative domain of state.The court held that " public order" covered
issue of gravity and more serious threat covered in TADA fell down relating to
It has been challenged several times in the supreme court of India where the
constitutionality of section 35 and section 36 of the act on the grounds that it
gives the exorbitant power to the state.
Under the recent amendment the government has been given to designate an
organisation as a terrorrist organisation if (a) if it commits or participates
an acts of terrorism. (b) prepare and promote the terrorism.(c) otherwise
involved in terrorism.
These laws give exceptional power to the state to arrest the citizens, to detain
them,to charge them with the offences.
- The provisions of UAPA are violative of fundamental rights guaranteed to
citizens of India.
- The provisions of UAPA are violative judicial criterion set by DK Basu
v. State of West Bengal.
The unlawful Activities prevention Act 1976, was brought to curb the increasing
thread of terrorism in India like the Mumbai attacks 2011,Delhi bombing
2013,Hyderabad blast and increasing cross border insurance in Kashmir had
compelled the parliament to bring the amendments in the Act.
The prime objective of the act is to counter terrorist activities and compact
illegal activities which are a threat to the integrity and security of India and
the government needs to focus on complain with the objective of the act instead
of stepping descent voices.certain provisions of the act are still under
judicial scrutiny as they deem to be contrary fundamental rights.
Drawing the line between individual liberty and the states duty to render
security in case of a classic predicament. It is up the state judiciary civil
society to balance constitutional freedom and the imperative of Anti terror
pursuit. Government has time and again adopted laws such as sedation and
criminal defamation laws to quell dissent. They have been misused in politics as
tools against criticism, legising thoughts, and crime. The government in
recognizing the intent of this act has integrated human rights.
The government has arrested journalists doing jobs and citizens asking for their
rights and justice in the blanket of such laws. This amendment shows hints of
the way which laws were made under the colonial regime to curb several freedom
movements under cover of assuring public order.
The act is mainly criminalising based on ideology and association Thus,these
laws can be evidently seen as short steps in the direction of the autocracy from
democracy, which urgently needs to be prevented by the judiciary.
Written By: Sankalp Mirani
- An immediate repeal of unlawful Activities prevention Bill, such an act
should be repealed by a legislation that allows a degree of transparency,
and judicial scrutiny.
- Legislations relating to protection of political dissent should be
passed, in order to properly define what does or does not constitute
- Compensation should be provided those individuals who were detained
under UAPA for a significant amount, and proven innocent.