3,005 cases registered under UAPA in 3 years, but only 821 chargesheets filed in time: MHA in Parliament
The response given by MoS Home G Kishan Reddy to a question by CPI MP Binoy Viswom quoted National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2016 till 2018
The Central government has stated that while 3,005 cases have been registered in the country under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) over the last three years, only 821 chargesheets have been filed within the statutory time of 180 days. The number of accused in these cases stands at 3,974.
The Ministry of Home Affairs shared this information in response to a question submitted by CPI MP Binoy Viswom on Wednesday. The response given by MoS Home G Kishan Reddy has quoted National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2016 till 2018.
In the response shared by Reddy, it was revealed that 999, 1,554 and 1,421 persons were arrested under the anti-terror law in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The ministry stated that chargesheets were filed within 180 days in 232, 272 and 317 cases in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. However, 92 and 52 chargesheets were filed in 2017 and 2018 respectively within one to two years. After a considerable delay of two years, 31 and 10 chargesheets were filed in 2017 and 2018 by the security agencies.
As per the Code of Criminal Procedure, a chargesheet has to be filed within 60 days, but in cases of criminal breach of trust (Sec. 409) it is 90 days. However, the agencies can file chargesheets within 180 days (six months) in UAPA cases.
The response from the Ministry does not share if those who were incarcerated were granted bail because of the delay in filing the chargesheet. A person is entitled to a bail if the investigating agency fails to file the chargesheet within 90 days. However, the accused can be denied bail up to 180 days if they have been jailed under UAPA. Under the provisions of UAPA, an accused cannot seek anticipatory bail either.
It may be recalled that Delhi Police has arrested at least 15 student activists under UAPA, including political activists Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi, DevanganaKalita, Gulfisha Fatima and Natasha Narwal. While former JNU student Umar Khalid was remanded to 10 days police custody earlier this week, the others have been jailed since April and May.
In 2018, activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira and Sudhir Dhawale were arrested under this Act on charges of instigating violence in Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018. They are still in jail. There has been no progress in their cases even six months after the Pune Police filed the first chargesheet against them and bail has been routinely denied.