Tag Archives: anti-terror law

Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

Guest post by AVANI CHOKSHI

It seems ludicrous that in a civilised democratic society like India, a citizen may be practically abducted by police, charged with perfunctory offences and incarcerated without bail on mere suspicion for an indefinite period of time.  But this is indeed the situation in present-day India, with duly passed legislation sanctioning the inhumane state of affairs.

The validity of unjust or immoral laws has long been debated, with two major schools of thought emerging- the positivist school and the naturalist school. The positivist school does not recognise any correlation between the legal system of a society and notions of what ought to be justice. The positivist framework mandates that the law is that ordained by the valid legislator, whereas the naturalist school of thought envisages some rights to be inherent by virtue of humanity of a person. Thus, an unjust law, as per the school of naturalist thought, would be no law at all; positivistic thought, on the other hand, would posit such law to be valid by virtue only of being ascribed to the law-making process. The Hart- Fuller debate  devolved around the law made by Hitler; with Hart contending that laws passed using proper procedure would always be valid and Fuller maintaining that no unjust rule could ever be law. India allows “procedure established by law ” to deprive people of their Fundamental Rights; a state of affairs which reflects positivistic thought in the founders of India. India’s judiciary has slowly moved from this strictly positivist setting to a more naturalistic and liberal interpretation  of the term. This shift has placed India closer to the guarantee of “due process of law” in the United States of America. Continue reading Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

UAPA: Legalising the police state

Guest post by ANUJ BHUWANIA

Recently the clamour for a draconian terror bill came to fruition with rare alacrity. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill was introduced and passed within two days by both houses of Parliament – quite a contrast to, say, the Women’s Reservation Bill, gathering dust now for more than a decade. Coming from a government that repealed POTA soon after it assumed power, the Bill unimaginatively mimics POTA almost entirely, revealing that little has been learnt from the recent history of TADA and POTA and the problems leading to their removal. While such statutes giving extraordinary powers to the police are introduced to cater to ‘exceptional’ situations, they can easily be deployed in ‘ordinary cases’ and indeed routinely are. The bleeding of one category into the other is inevitable, when the police alone decide which is which.

Continue reading UAPA: Legalising the police state