National Security Act
- National Security Act has been invoked in the case of self-styled Sikh preacher and on-the-run Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh.
About National Security Act, 1980:
- NSA “empowers the state to detain a person without a formal charge and without trial”.
- Under the Act, a person is taken into custody to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to “the security of the state” or for “maintenance of the public order”.
- It is an administrative order passed either by the Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate (DM).
- Even if a person is in police custody, the District Magistrate can slap NSA against them. Or, if a person has been granted bail by a trial court, they can be immediately detained under the NS If the person has been acquitted by the court, the same person can be detained under the NSA.
- The law takes away an individual’s constitutional right to be produced before the magistrate within 24 hours, as is the case when the accused is in police custody. The detained person also does not have the right to move a bail application before a criminal court.
What are the grounds for detention?
- NSA can be invoked to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, relations of India with foreign powers or the security of India. Among others, it can also be applied to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community.
- An individual can be detained without a charge for a maximum period of 12 months.
What is the protection available under the Act?
- The Indian Constitution allows both preventive detention and the right of protection against arrest and detention in certain cases, enshrined under Article 22 of the Constitution.
- However, Article 22(3) provides that the rights available to an arrested person will not be applicable in case of preventive detention, thus an exception is carved out.
- One crucial procedural safeguard under the NSA is granted under Article 22(5), where all the detained persons have the right to make an effective representation before an independent advisory board, which consists of three members; and the board is chaired by a member who is, or has been, a judge of a high court.