Opposition objects to frequent use of NSA by Yogi govt in Uttar Pradesh
While police say it is meant to be a ‘pre-emptive’ move, legal experts and politicians are baffled by the alacrity with which NSA is being invoked in cases that do not have any security implications
Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have taken strong objection to the Yogi Adityanath government's penchant for invoking the National Security Act (NSA) against offenders without taking into consideration the larger security implications of the crime.
The NSA is designed as a law to act against security threats but it is being increasingly used in murder and rape cases by the state.
While police say it is meant to be a 'pre-emptive' move, legal experts and politicians are baffled by the alacrity with which the stringent Act is being invoked in cases that do not have any security implications.
The NSA states that the Centre or the state may detain a person for 'preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers, or the security of India,' or a foreigner whose 'continued presence in India' may need to be 'regulated'.
Congress legislature party leader Aradhana Mishra said the increased use of NSA in UP is a panic response to the rise in crime.
"Section 302 is very strong and sufficient dealing with murder cases. Police can add charges according to the nature of the crime, but using NSA for every case is a sheer sign of panic. Moreover, the use of NSA in such cases will not stand scrutiny at a later stage," she said.
An example of this is the case of Dr Kafeel Khan of Gorakhpur who was booked under NSA in February this year in a case of alleged hate speech and then the NSA was extended for another three months.
In September, Allahabad High Court set aside NSA invoked against Khan and ordered his release.
Similarly, Peace Party chief Dr Ayub, who was earlier booked under NSA, was released on the orders of the court in October this year.
The NSA allows three months' detention at a time, which can be extended up to 12 months with approval from the NSA advisory board set up by the government. A detention order can be executed in the same manner that an arrest warrant is, but the grounds of detention can be provided 10 days later.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesman Vaibhav Maheshwari said, "The Yogi Adityanath government is using NSA as a tool to intimidate its political opponents. Instead of dealing with criminal cases under existing laws, the state government is trying to misuse other laws to serve its purpose. It is time that the judiciary stopped misuse of laws such as NSA and prevented their trivialization."
Samajwadi Party spokesman Anurag Bhadauria said that the state government was trying to hide behind the NSA to conceal its failure in controlling law and order.
A retired UP DGP, who did not wish to be named, said, "This is the first time in my entire career that I am seeing NSA being invoked so frequently and without any basis. This amounts to lowering the importance and seriousness of the law itself. I think the government is invoking NSA whenever it wants to keep someone under detention for a longer period of time which is unfortunate."