Among the handful of countries, India is one of the countries whose constitution allows for preventive detention during the time when peace is required.  However, after getting Independence these laws came to known as the Preventive Detention Act 1950. But, Maintenance of Internal Security Act of 1957 and the National Security Act of 1986 consecutively replace the names. National Security Act gets its route from the Preventive Detention Laws.

Grounds for arrest.

Under the national security act, the grounds of arrest are:

  • A person acting in a prejudicial manner to the defense of the country with the relation of India with foreign powers or the security of India.
  • If any person is operating the continued presence of any foreigner in India or is making any arrangements for the expulsion of the same from India.
  • If any person is acting in a prejudicial manner to the maintenance of public order.
  • He/she acting in a prejudicial manner to the maintenance of supplies and services of essential commodities to the community.

Constitution of Advisory Board.

The Central Government or the State government can issue a directive to constitute a body called an Advisory body. The Advisory body can examine the reason for the detention. The body shall consist of three persons who are qualified to become a Judge of High court. If the body so constituted finds no valid or a strong cause for detention then they will issue a directive to the government. This directive is issued to revoke the detention and release the detained person immediately.

Reapproval of the National Security Act.

Article 22 of the Indian constitution and many provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure safeguards the interest of the arrested person. The authority informs the arrested about the grounds of arrest. The person has all the right to consult and defend himself by a legal practitioner of his choice. The arrested person should be presented before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours. However, these are best of interest for the person who is not available under the National Security Act. The arrested person stays unaware of the reasons for his arrest for 10 days. The official can withhold the major information while telling the grounds of arrest which is against the public interest.

The arrested person has only one right that is the right to appeal before the advisory board. But, he/she has no right to get a legal practitioner of his choice to consult and defend himself. Any action by the Central or State Government done in good faith will have no proceedings initiated against them. The National Security Act uses hazy and unclear language while preparing. This gives a benefit to the government.

The Government can arrest any person who seems to poses a threat but does not have proper proof of causing any threat. Because of this indefinite language used in law, many journalists and activists under this Act have been arrested. These things are becoming pretty common these days. Hence for regular law and order issues, the Preventive Detention Act is not applicable.


national security act Riya Agarwal



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