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Current Affairs

AFSPA extended in Nagaland

Date: 01 January 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declared the entire State of Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

 

Background

The law empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior notice. The AFSPA has been in force in Northeast since 1958 and Nagaland acquired Statehood in 1963.

 

Details

  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 is an act of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces the power to maintain public order in "disturbed areas".

  • According to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared 'disturbed', the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months.

  • At present, it is in force in the States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur {excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area}, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering the State of Assam.

  • The Acts have received criticism from several sections for alleged concerns about human rights violations in the regions of its enforcement alleged to have happened.

  • The Articles in the Constitution of India empower state governments to declare a state of emergency due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Failure of the administration and the local police to tackle local issues

  • Return of (central) security forces leads to return of miscreants/erosion of the "peace dividend"

  • The scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for local forces to handle

 

Powers under AFSPA

  • After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death.

  • Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are.

  • To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.

  • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.

  • Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.

  • Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay.

  • Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law.

  • Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.