August 23, 2019

Plea Filed In SC Challenges Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Act Which Designates Individuals As Terrorists

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Act, 2019, notified by the Centre, to designate an individual as a terrorist.

It may be noted that under the original UAPA 1967, only organizations could be notified as “terrorist” and not an individual.

The recent petition, filed by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, an NGO, has sought direction to declare Section 35 and Section 36 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act as “unconstitutional and void” since they violate the fundamental rights of individuals.

According the petition, designating an individual terrorist without giving him an opportunity of being heard violates the individual's right to reputation and dignity as he faces a lifelong stigma and this tarnishes his reputation for life.

Section 35 of the amended Act didn't mention when a person could be designated terrorist, whether on mere registration of an FIR or upon conviction in a terror related case, designating a person as terrorist on a mere belief of the government was arbitrary and excessive, it stated.

The petition stated that a person is never informed of the grounds of his notification, and so the remedy of challenging it under Section 36, as provided for in the Act, is rendered practically meaningless.

Earlier, another similar plea was filed by Sajal Awasthi, a resident of Delhi, urging the Supreme Court to declare the amendment unconstitutional.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Act, 2019, violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (right to equality), Article 19 (right to free speech and expression) and Article 21 (right to life) in the Constitution, the petitioner has stated.

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