Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is an Indian law that is aimed at the prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. The main objective of it was to make powers available. These powers are to deal with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India. There have been many arrests in India under this act.
The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation. Its aim was to look into the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of integrity and sovereignty of India. The National Integrated Council’s agenda limited itself to casteism, communalism, regionalism, and not terrorism. The Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act in 1963 was enacted to impose reasonable restrictions by law. This will be done in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Bill was introduced in Parliament in order to implement the provisions of the 1963 Act. This was claimed by the BJP led NDA government. However, the provisions of the UAPA Act contravenes the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required for prosecution under Section 13 of UAPA. However, the state government’s permission is required for prosecutions under sections 16, 17, and 18. Section 25 allows the NIA to seize property it believes belongs to terrorists. But this has to be done with the written consent of the Director-General of Police (DGP) of the state. The consent can even be of the DGP of the NIA which means that the permission of the DGP of the state is not required. The police usually have 60 to 90 days to investigate a case and submit a charge sheet. If it is not done, the accused can obtain default bail. But under UAPA, this time is extended to 180 days. On top of that, normal bail rules do not apply to an accused under 43(d)5 of the UAPA.
Between 2016 to 2018, 3005 cases were registered under UAPA and 3974 people have been arrested. Among them were many RTI activists and journalists too. Some of them are:
- Arun Ferreira (Human Rights Activist)
- Binayak Sen (Doctor and Human rights Activist)
- Thirumurugan Gandhi (Human Rights Activist, founder- May 17 Movement)
- G.N. Saibaba (Writer, scholar, professor, and Human Rights Activist)
- Sudhir Dhawale (Dalit Rights Activist)
- Mahesh Raut (Tribal Rights Activist)
- Sudha Bharadwaj (Civil Rights Activist and Trade Unionist)
- Varavara Rao (Poet and activist)
- Gautam Navlakha (Human rights Activist and journalist)
- Akhil Gogoi (RTI Activist and peasant leader)
- Umar Khalid (Human Rights Activist)
- Ishrat Jahan (Congress Councillor, Delhi)
- Siddique Kappan (journalist)