Countering Terrorism or Suppressing Dissent: A Critical analysis of the UAPA

  • Apoorva Mathur
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  • Apoorva Mathur

    Assistant Professor (Research) at School of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences, Rashtriya Raksha University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

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Post-Independence, various legislations have been enacted to counter terrorism in India. These statutes have dealt with aspects such as intelligence, preventive detention, apprehension, search, seizure, investigation, trial, rule of evidence and penalty. Legislations such as the Maintenance of internal Security Act (MISA), the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) have been accused of being disproportionately draconian, stringent and prone to misuse for political gains. One common feature between these laws have been the wide and sweeping definition of ‘Terrorism’ or ‘Terrorist Act’. This has resulted in widespread misuse of these laws by law enforcement agencies against opposition, politicians, journalists and activists who are merely exercising their right to protest against the policies of the government. The primary legislation for countering terrorism and currently in force in India is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, better known as the UAPA. Initially a preventive-detention legislation, after the repeal of POTA, it was amended in 2004 to make it a Counter Terrorism Legislation. The act has been further amended in 2019 to designate individuals as terrorist. The law has been consistently misused by the law enforcement agencies to target student activists and journalists who have raised their voice against the policies of the government. This paper is an attempt to critically and dispassionately analyze the provisions of stringent UAPA to determine its shortcomings and limitations.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, Page 5431 - 5440


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