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Lok Sabha passes National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Date: 15 July 2019 Tags: Bills & Laws

Lok Sabha passed National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008 to take tougher action against new schedule offences including human trafficking, terrorism etc by empowering investigating agency for speedy trials and convictions.

About National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008

  • It provides for national-level agency- NIA to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences).  Further, it allows for creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
  • Jurisdiction of the NIA:  It provides for creation of NIA to investigate and prosecute offences specified in the schedule. The officers of NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India.
  • Scheduled offences: The schedule to this Act specifies list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by NIA. These include offences under Acts such as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
  • Special Courts: The Act allows Central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences under it.

Features of NIA (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • It seeks to allow NIA to investigate following new offences in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes (iv) cyber-terrorism and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.      
  • It gives NIA officers power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.  It also allows central government may direct NIA to investigate such cases, as if offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
  • It allows central government to designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for trial of scheduled offences.  The central government is required to consult Chief Justice of the High Court under which Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as Special Court. 
  • In case more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, then senior-most judge will distribute cases among courts.  Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for trial of scheduled offences.         
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