Paper: General Studies Paper-I
Section: Legal and Environmental Issues
Topic: Internal Security and related Issues
Critically analyse the significant changes made in the Unlawful Activities Prevention act recently.
The UAPA (Amendment) 2019 was passed in the parliament to strengthen the terrorism act.
The wider definition allows central government to designate an organisation s a terrorist organisation if it: Commits or participates in acts of terrorism, Prepares for terrorism, Promotes terrorism, or Is otherwise involved in terrorism. It additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds. It gives approval for Seizure of Property and investigation power to NIA.
Need of the Amendment
- Rise in Terrorism Threats
- Circumvention of law by individuals since earlier only organisations were designated as terrorists.
- Delays caused because of seeking prior permission from the respective state DGPs.
It confers the Centre with “discretionary, unfettered and unbound powers” to categorise a person as a terrorist which is potentially dangerous because it will
empower government officials to brand any person as a terrorist without following due process.
The right to reputation is an intrinsic part of fundamental right to life with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution and tagging an individual as “terrorist” even before the commencement of trial or any application of judicial mind over it, did not amount to following the ‘procedure established by law’.
The individual may face harassments in the form of social boycott, expulsion from job, hounding by media and perhaps attack from the self-proclaimed vigilante groups.
The vaguely defined terms like terrorist propaganda, terrorist literature etc. can be misused by the authority.
It allows the government to freely encroach upon the fundamental rights of dignity, free speech, dissent and reputation.
The different agencies of state should ensure that due process of law is applied while dealing with various cases under this legislation.
There is a need to ensure state of the art training of young officials as to make them competent in tackling complex cases.
There is a need for a central agency for overseeing evidence collection- so as to aid investigation process, especially when cases need to connect dots across the borders.
What are major issues with police in India? Suggest some reforms for smart policing in India.
Major issues with Police in India
Huge vacancies: With the phenomenal expansion of the geographic area to be policed and the increase in the number of lives to be guarded, the Indian police, more than in many western democracies, have been stretched and outnumbered. There are only about 140 policemen per 100,000 people, a very poor ratio when compared to other modern democracies.
Over-burden: Police force is over-burdened especially at lower levels where constabulary is forced to work continuously for 14-16 hours, 7 days a week. It adversely impacts their performance.
Arduous nature of duties and working conditions: The nature of the duties is very uncertain and the police itself say that policemen are on duty all the time – it’s a violation of Human Rights.
Risk to life: The risk to life in Police is very high. Policemen are killed in India in the performance of duties than in any other country of the world. There’s no indication that in future the risk element would be less.
Police Infrastructure:The weaponry, vehicles etc. used by police force at lower level is obsolete and is unmatched with the modern weaponry used by the criminals and anti-social elements.
Qualifications and training of police personnels: Police training methods have been out dated and aspects of human rights are largely ignored in training modules. Training of police officials is heavily biased in favour of higher level officials. 94% of the total training expenditure is on IPS officers’ training.
Politicization of Police: Politicization of a police force is a major problem as it affects the autonomy of police force making them to subserve the interests of political executive at the cost of ordinary citizens. CID at the state level has failed to perform because of political cases led by the ruling parties against their opponents and because of excessive political interference by political executive.
Lack of co-ordination between centre and states is a matter related to maintenance of law & order results in ineffective functioning of police force. The dual command at district and state levels have resulted in the problem of co-ordination between the civil servants and police officials because of ego clashes and inconceivable personal differences.
Criminalization of politics and politicization of crime have aggravated the problems of police force as they are not in a position to curb the crime in effective manner.
Ineffectiveness against new forms of crimes: Police force is not in the position to tackle present days’ problems of cyber-crimes, global terrorism, naxalism because of its structural weaknesses.
Judicial reforms have not been effective as most of the criminals are not punished for the crime they committed. Inspite of recommendations of various commissions’, crime investigation has not been separated from maintenance of law & order.
Underutilisation of funds for modernisation: Both centre and states allocate funds for modernisation of state police forces. These funds are typically used for strengthening police infrastructure, by way of construction of police stations, purchase of weaponry, communication equipment and vehicles. However, there has been a persistent problem of underutilisation of modernisation funds.
Prevailing Corruption: The pay scales of police personnel especially at the lower levels are very low and they are forced to adopt corrupt means to earn their livelihood. Prevalence of Rank system within the police force results in abuse of power by top level executive over lower level personnel.
Reforms required for SMART Police:
Improvement in capacity and infrastructure of police forces: Boosting infrastructure and capacity of the police forces includes increase in the number of police personnel in the country, improvement in recruitment, training and service conditions including up-gradation on one hand and improving the infrastructure, working hours, housing facilities on the other.
Revisiting the constitution of police forces in the country through legislative/administrative changes: The legislative changes include, enactment of the organized Crimes Act, a single police act for the country, moving Police to the Concurrent List, declaration of Federal Crimes, measures regarding registration of crimes, statutory backing for the CBI, Commissionerate system for large areas, revival and strengthening of the beat constable system and some changes in criminal procedure and evidence systems.
In addition to the legislative changes, there is an urgent need for administrative reforms as well. On the administrative side, changes include separation of investigation from law and order, specialized wings for Social and Cyber Crimes, restricting the police to core functions, setting up authorities as directed by the Supreme Court, strengthening state machinery and linking prosecution with police.
Technological scaling-up: The police force needs to keep pace with changing times. Modernization of the force has become inevitable especially in cyber security, counter-terrorism/insurgency and relying on technology for policing. Technological reforms includes modernization of the control room, fast tracking the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) pushing for National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and pushing for incorporation of new technology into policing.