Context: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill that seeks to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Highlights o the bills:
- Who may commit terrorism: The Bill empowers the government to designate an individual/organisation as a terrorist if it:
- Commits or participates in acts of terrorism
- Prepares for terrorism
- Promotes terrorism
- Involved in terrorism.
- Approval for seizure of property by NIA: Under the existing act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. The Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
- Investigation by NIA: Under the existing act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above. The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
- Insertion to schedule of treaties: The existing act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act. The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979). The Bill adds another treaty to the list. This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).