Why is the NSA issue?
Recently, many state governments have invoked the National Security Act (NSA) to detain people on doubtful offenses. The Act has stringent provisions against the arrested. The Usage of NSA by States is being seen as the misuse of these provisions.
What is the NSA Act?
- National Security Act allows Central or State governments to prevent any person from acting as a threat to national security.
- The Act also allows the government to preventively detain any person from disrupting supply or maintenance of essential commodities and services to the community or disrupting public order.
- As per the act, a person can be detained for a maximum of 12 months but can be extended when fresh evidence is produced by the government.
Since Colonial Times
- Acts that allows preventive detention in India are present since colonial times.
- From the Bengal Resolution III of 1818 to Rowlatt Acts of 1919 and the Preventive Detention Act of 1950, all allows preventive detention.
- The current NSA is close to the 1950 Act.
What is the Concern?
- When a person is arrested normally, he or she has certain guarantees to safeguard their basic rights such as being informed of the reason for the arrest, the right to apply for bail, etc.
- But these rights do not apply for a person arrested under the NSA.
- First of all, no FIR is filed under the Act.
- He/she will not be informed on the grounds for their arrest for 5 days and in some cases, it may of up to 10 days.
- The arrested person is cannot avail legal assistance before an advisory board constituted by the government to deal with NSA cases.
- Also, the exact data on how many people are detained under the NSA is not clear as the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) do not collect data on NSA cases.
- The NSA Act is being misused by all the governments in the country.
- The intended objective to prevent acts that harm our national security is set aside and is being used for self-interests.
- It is like the government is using the act as an extra-judicial power.
In spreading democracy often acts such as this hampers the progress. Already, the act is 40 years old and reconsidering it is the need of the hour. Or else, the scary scenario of arbitrary detention for personal goals becomes the norm which does not augur well for the country.