Rate of conviction lower than 2% in UAPA cases between 2015-19: NCRB
According to NCRB data, only 34 people were convicted in 2019 out of the 1,948 people arrested under UAPA
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, less than two percent of the people arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act between 2015-2019 have been convicted. Moreover, out of the 7,840 people arrested on charges on terrorism, only 155 have been convicted by the trial courts.
Between 2015 and 2019, Delhi Police registered 17 cases and named 41 suspects under UAPA. After the Northeast Delhi riots last year, Delhi Police registered 763 first information reports (FIRs), which included 51 cases under the Arms Act and named over 3,300 suspects, said a report in the Economic Times. Many of these suspects were granted bail by the Delhi High Court and trial courts.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that there was no prima facie case against Delhi riots accused Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal under the UAPA and granted them bail. However, the Delhi Police has approached the Supreme Court against this order. The Supreme Court on Friday expressed dissatisfaction with the Delhi High Court 100-page judgment granting bail to one of the three student-activists accused in a case of "larger conspiracy" related to the February 2020 northeast Delhi riots, which claimed lives of 53 people and left hundreds injured
Earlier, the high court had also ordered the release of Liyakat Ali, Arshad Qayyum alias Monu, Gulfam, Irshad Ahmad and Jamia Millia Islamia student Safoora Zargar.
According to NCRB data, only 34 people were convicted in 2019 out of the 1,948 people arrested under UAPA. Manipur had the most number of UAPA cases- 306 cases with 386 arrests. Uttar Pradesh recorded 81 cases and booked 498 suspects in 2019.
“Convictions in UAPA cases are an outcome of an elaborate judicial process and are dependent on various factors such as duration of trial, appraisal of evidence and examination of witnesses,” The Economic Times quoted a home ministry official, on the condition of anonymity.
The UAPA law, which was enacted in 1967, has been amended in 2008, 2012 and 2019 to include the designation of individuals. When the law was amended in 2008 after the Mumbai attacks, it expanded the definition of “terrorist act” to include economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency and procurement of weapons, and it granted the courts the power to forfeit property equivalent to the counterfeited currency.
In February 2021, Advocate Abu Bakar Sabbaq told NewsClick that the process of the case itself has become the punishment now. He added, “The use of the law to silence dissenting voices is worse for suspects than for those who have been convicted.”