National Investigation Agency and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

National Investigation Agency and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

News: Special court on May 25 sentenced Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a terror funding case. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court charged him to life term under Section 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)Act (UAPA) and Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also imposed a fine of ₹10 lakh.

About NIA:
• It was constituted under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reviews the manpower, financial and infrastructure requirements of NIA from time to time.
• It implements international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organizations.
• Its objective is to combat terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.

How does the NIA work?
• The cases are assigned to the NIA by the Central Government in accordance with section VI of the NIA Act, 2008.
• The investigation of the cases is done by the Agency independently; cases are then placed before the NIA Special Court.
• For prosecuting the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and certain other scheduled offenses, the Agency seeks the sanction of the Central Government. The sanction is granted under the UAPA based on the report of the ‘Authority’ constituted under section 45 (2) of the UAPA.
• The amendments to the NIA Act has brought the offences related to the smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency under the definition of a terrorist Act.
• To curb various aspects of terrorist financing, a Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell (TFFC) has been created in the NIA.
• The Central Government for the trial of Scheduled Offenses, constitutes one or more Special Courts under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008.
• The Special Court shall be presided over by a judge to be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court.

What offences does NIA investigate and prosecute?
• Affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India
• Security of State
• Friendly relations with foreign States.
• Against atomic and nuclear facilities.
• Smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.

About UAPA:
• Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
• The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
• It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
• Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged under UAPA.
• It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
• Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.

What has changed under UAPA post 2019 amendment?
• The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
• The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
• It also included the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist. 

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