The new anti-terror law has come been passed by the Indian Government under which a person can be declared terrorists and their properties seized, the Home Ministry announced on Wednesday.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind consented to the legislation on August 8 after the Lok Sabha passed it on July 24 and the Rajya Sabha on August 2.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019 (28 of 2019), the central government hereby appoints the 14th August 2019, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” a home ministry notification said.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting a travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists. The Act gives powers to the Director-General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to attach properties of ‘terrorists’.
Earlier, the law required that the NIA take prior approval from the respective state police chiefs to attach the proceeds of terrorism. This delayed the complete process as often such properties are found in different states, another official said.
Earlier, officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and above were authorised to investigate cases under the UAPA as per Section 43. Now, officers in the rank of Inspector can to do so.
The inspector-rank officers have over time gained ample ability to investigate UAPA-related cases and this move would accelerate the delivery of justice in such cases, which are evaluated by senior officers at various levels.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah had said the law, that would be used only to tackle terror, would help agencies remain four steps ahead of terrorists. Shah said terrorist acts are committed not by organisations but by individuals. Declaring an organisation as a terrorist organisation will not stop the individuals behind it.
Not designating individuals as terrorists would give them an opportunity to circumvent the law and they would simply gather under a different name and keep up their terror activities, he said.