oppn parties NIA Act Amendment Bill: Necessary To Counter New-Age Terrorism

News Snippets

  • The government decides to decriminalize more than two-thirds of penal sections in the Companies Act
  • Muslim groups tell the Supreme Court that they want the Babri Masjid to be restored
  • Muslim groups claim that while they were asked questions in court, Hindus were not questioned
  • Postpaid mobile services restored in Jammu & Kashmir from today, but still no internet
  • Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American currently a professor at MIT, wins the 2019 Noble prize in economics jointly with two others
  • Industrial output slumps in August as the IIP shrinks by 1.1%
  • Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a cultural show at the Shore Temple in Mamallapuram
  • J&K administration lifts the ban on entry of tourists in the Valley, but it remains doubtful how many will visit without being able to use mobile phones and internet
  • After Sena asks members to support the BJP candidate in Kalyan, 26 party corporators and 300 members resign setting off a crisis
  • The Centre sets up a 12-member committee to suggest systemic changes in the GST structure to improve compliance and collection, prevent misuse and evasion and rationalize rates and slabs
  • In line with the RBI outlook on the Indian economy, rating firm Moody's also downgrades growth forecast from 6.8% to 5.8% this year, saying the economy is experiencing a pronounced slowdown
  • HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh says the financial system in India does not offer foolproof security for misuse of the savings of the common man
  • Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, promoters of Ranbaxy and Fortis, arrested for their role in Religare Finvest scam
  • Supreme Court says marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down irretrievably
  • DA of Central government staff hiked by 5% to 17%
Sourav Ganguly is the new president of BCCI, says conflict of interest is a big concern
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NIA Act Amendment Bill: Necessary To Counter New-Age Terrorism

By Linus Garg

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

The bill to amend the National Investigative Agency Act was passed by the Lok Sabha after a division vote. Normally, government bills do not necessitate a division but are passed by a voice vote. But since AIMIM MP Asaddudin Owaisi got into a verbal duel with home minister Amit Shah over the amendments and insisted on a division, the vote took place. Shah was quick to seize the moment to say that it is better to have a vote as it will show who is against national security.

 

During the debate, Owaisi was supported by the Congress and other parties which said that NDA government would misuse the law to target some people and communities. They said that India will turn into a "police state".Shah countered by saying that terrorism has no religion and the government will never misuse the law. But since the NDA government has been hyper-sensitive over the definition of nationalism, has been using the sedition law quite liberally and its agencies have diluted cases against several people involved in the so-called "Hindu terror", concerns remain over the misuse of the law.

 

But do the present amendments have anything to do with the misuse? The law could be misused as it stood, even before amending it. The NIA has ample powers to harass targeted people if the government wants. The current amendments are only to fine-tune the law and make it up to date by adding several new areas such as human trafficking, circulation of fake currency and sale of prohibited arms among others, which can be investigated by the NIA. It focuses on the matters of cybercrime, something which terrorists are increasingly resorting to. Maybe Owaisi is concerned about the proviso that seeks to declare suspected individuals as terrorists (as opposed to organizations till now), but since one-man armies are not uncommon now, this proviso has to be there. Only, it has to be used with utmost care.

 

When it came to voting on the bill, no party voted against it. The bill was passed with only 6 votes against it, comprising mainly of AIMIM and individual MPs. This proves that all major political parties want the NIA to be given more powers to investigate terror crimes. Concerns over misuse should be addressed by the parties by remaining vigilant and by not allowing the government of the day to play a partisan role.