Polity and Governance

National Security Act Overreach

Invocation of National Security Act for killing cows
•The National Security Act (NSA) was invoked by the MP Government in February 2019 against three persons accused of cow slaughter, in Khandwa district
•The act allows governments to detain people for up to a year if they are suspected to be a threat to public order or national security.
•According to the SP Khandawa, ‘The police have arrested all the three accused and booked them under the NSA “to maintain peace in the communally sensitive area”. 
•This is the first incident in Madhya Pradesh where NSA is being invoked against those accused of cow slaughter  
Legal provision
•Article 22 of the Constitution laid down the scheme under which a preventive detention law could be enacted.
•The National Security Act of 1980 is an act Parliament promulgated on 23 September, 1980 during the Indira Gandhi Government. 
•The Act extends to whole of India except J&K
•Its purpose is "to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith".
•This act empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her doing certain specified activities
•The maximum time period of detention under NSA is 12 months
•State Governments must be intimated that a person has been detained under NSA
Grounds of Preventive Detention
•Acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of India, the relations of India with foreign countries, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community
•The act also gives power to the governments to detain a foreigner in a view to regulate his presence or expel from the country.
Article 22 {Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases}
(1) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
(2) Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.
(3) Nothing in clauses (1) and (2) shall apply -to any person
     •who for the time being is an enemy alien; or
     •to any person who is arrested or detained under any law providing for preventive detention.
Advisory Board
•No law providing for preventive detention shall authorize the detention of a person for a longer period than three months unless -an Advisory Board consisting of persons who are, or have been, or are qualified to be appointed as, Judges of a High Court has reported before the expiration of the said period of three months that there is in its opinion sufficient cause for such detention:
•Parliament must prescribe the maximum period for detention.
Who can make the law
•Parliament has exclusive authority to make laws relating to preventive detention for the reasons connected with defence, foreign affairs and the security of state
•Both Parliament and State Legislature can make law for reasons connected with security of state, maintenance of public order and maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community
Preventive detention laws in India
•Bengal Regulation Act (1818),
•Defense of India Act (1915),
•Rowlett Act (1919)
•Preventive Detention Act (1950-1969)
•Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967
•Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) 1971-78
•Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act  (COFEPOSA) 1974
•National Security Act 1980

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