‘National Security Act’ or ‘Rasuka’ leads to the whole of India, the act gives permission to the government to hold in custody a person if the authority satisfies itself that the person in custody, he/she is a threat to the society and national security.
The law gives center and state government the permit to put a person behind the bars or detain him/her, in order to prevent the person formally not to disturb the public order or become the danger to the citizen, the security of our country, also for blocking the prolongation and supply of necessary services to the community. Moreover, the power to detain a person behind bars who is prejudicial to national security is vested in section 3(1)(a) of the National Security Act,1980.
Who can detain?
The potential and power mentioned legally to arrest or detain a person are delegated to Police Commissioner (SSP) or District Magistrate by section 3(3) of NSA,1980. The maximum time-span to hold a person is 12 months. Moreover, the government can stretch the time-span if it feels so. Plus, the person detained under NSA can be carried for 10 days without knowing the charges vested against him/her.
Under this act, if a person is arrested then he/she will be passed to the advisory board within 3 weeks of detention,(advisory board consists of Judges of Highcourt) after which the board will submit its report within 7 weeks of detention. The reports of the advisory board set opinion of whether the grounds for preventive detention of the person is sufficient, but if the advisory board finds insufficient grounds then they will release the detenu. The board proceedings and report set confidential, even the person arrested has no right to legally appear.
Why NSA is considered draconian?
NSA is draconian or harsh in nature, for generally if a person is arrested, the person has the birthright being the native of India, that he/she may challenge the represent himself in court or based on section 50 of CrPC may even know the charges being bestowed upon him, which is legally binding as well. But in the case of NSA, the person can be arrested and can be put into custody without knowing the charges summoned upon him.
The detenu is also legally promised to be produced before a court within 24 hours by section 56 and 76 of the IPC, the detained person is also guaranteed by the article 22(1) of the Indian Constitution to enjoy the legal advice by his/her legal practitioner, unfortunately, the NSA doesn’t deliver any such basic rights to the detenu.
History of National Security Act
The National Security Act came into force under India’s 1st lady Prime Minister, Mrs.Indira Gandhi. It was introduced on 23rd of September, 1980, although its law spine was laid in 1818, during the Bengal Regulation III, which authorized the English government to apprehend anyone for keeping up or in the continuity of public order without accompanying the person any resort to legal actions.
The English Government also introduced the Rowlett Act in 1919 that authorized force to detain a suspect without any resort to trial. However, the Preventive Detention Act was carried up after independence under, the eye of our Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, later the act expired in 1969.
The Constitution of India gives power to preventively arrest a person prior to any commitment of his/her offense, from Article 22 of the constitution. Moreover, the power is often misused to deterrent the voice of objection, say for recently in different states of India, ‘ RASUKA’ or ‘NSA’ is applied onto various offenders, wrongdoers who assaulted the corona warriors like, doctors, police, housekeeping staffs, etc. Likewise, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the voices of around 6500 were curbed and were preventively restrained for 17 to 21 days in order to break the voices of dissent raised against the Citizenship Amendment Act. In a similar case, the Uttar Pradesh Police charged NSA on Shubham Chaudhary for blazing his own vehicle at SSP’s office during the year 2019.
Surprisingly, preventive detention accomplishes in discovering its place in the Indian constitution. There are various examples where the powers of preventive detention are being used for political benefit and to dismantle free speech and expression. Too much use of power without any checks and balances with minimum judicial intrusion may result in the possible misuse of the power of NSA. Freshly, NSA was used by Uttar Pradesh Government to make sure transparent and corruption examples or detainment was made for the disputes from neighborhood cricket spat in Muzaffarnagar and booked a skinny 68 years old, ‘Chaudhary Shamsher Ahmed’, who was later released based on reports of an advisory board.
The power vested by the National Security Act,1980, should be reconsidered and focused against the grounds of NSA, especially during the protest against CAA,2019. This is very obvious that the protest was turning to a riot by the rule-breakers but there were people with their silent protest and dissents, seeking an answer from the government.
This rigorous law is to be applied to him/her only when the person is or can be a danger to society or if he/she can break the national security of the country. Henceforth, the frequency and simplicity by which preventive detention resorted across time formally award the Indian legal system to initiate protection fair checks and balance before capturing or restraining the liberty of a person.
Manu Kashyap | Author