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India’s anti-Terror laws

Recently, a Supreme Court Judge has said that “criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused....

Recently, a Supreme Court Judge stated that “we should not misuse criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, to quell dissent or harass citizens.”


  • The term “Terrorism” comes from the French word Terrorisme, which is based on the Latin verb “terrere” (to cause to tremble). 
  • In 2004, a United Nations Security Council report described terrorism as any act “Intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”. 
  • Many countries legally distinguish acts of terrorism from other criminal acts done for different purposes, and they define “terrorism” through statutes.

The major incident of terrorist attack on India is:

  • 12 March 1993 – Series of 13 bombs go off killing 257
  • 14 March 2003 – Bomb goes off in a train in Mulund killing 10
  • 29 October 2005 Delhi bombings
  • 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack in Ayodhya
  • 2006 Varanasi bombings
  • 11 July 2006 – Series of seven bombs go off in trains killing
  • 26 November 2008 to 29 November 2008 – Coordinated series of attacks killing at least 170.
  • This data shows that after 1980, the terrorist activities are increase in India. India has fourgh a war against the terrorism and in these wars we have lost more then 6000 people. We have already lost more then 70000 civilians. In addition, we have lost more then 9000 security personnel. Almost six lakh people in this country have become homeless as a result of terrorism.

Anti-Terror Laws in India

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
    • The UAPA was designed to deal with associations and activities that questioned the territorial integrity of India. 
    • The ambit of the Act was strictly limits to meeting the challenge to the territorial integrity of India. 
    • The Act was a self-contained code of provisions for declaring secessionist associations as unlawful, adjudication by a tribunal, control of funds and places of work of unlawful associations, penalties for their members etc. 
    • The Act has all along been works holistically as such and is completely within the purview of the central list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA)
    • In wake of the 1999 IC-814 hijack and 2001 Parliament attack, there was a clamour for a more stringent anti-terror law.
    • This came in the form of “Prevention of Terrorism Act” (POTA), 2002.
    • A suspect could be detained for up to 180 days by a special court.
    • The law made fundraising for the purpose of terrorism a “terrorist act”.
    • A separate chapter to deal with terrorist organisations was included.  
    • Union government was mandates to maintain a list of organised that would fall under the act’s radar and had full authority to make additions or removals.
    • However, reports of gross misuse of the Act by some state governments led to its repeal in 2004.
  • Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA)
    • The act had much more stringent provisions than the UAPA and it was a specific design to deal with terrorist activities in India.
    • When TADA was enacted, the Apex Court of the country faced constitutional challenges to it.
    • The Supreme Court of India upheld its constitutional validity on the assumption that those entrusted with such draconic statutory powers would act in good faith and for the public good in the case of Kartar Singh vs State of Punjab
    • However, law enforcement officials abused the rigorous provisions contained in the statute, resulting in many instances of power misuse for collateral purposes.
    • TADA lapsed in 1995.

Read more : The Role of Governments and Law Enforcement in Preventing Terrorism

What is “Financial Action Task Force” (FATF)?

  • In 1989, member governments established the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an inter-governmental organization to develop policies aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • India got FATF membership in 2010 on the assurance that it would make suitable amendments in the Act by March 2012.


  • Criminalizing Thoughts 
  • Ignoring Fundamental Rights
  • Hindering dissent
  • Parliamentary Powers
  • Restricts Freedoms
  • Stringent Provision of bail
  • Sharp Rise in Use: Given the sharp surge in the state’s use of this provision in a sweeping range of alleged offenses – against tribals in Chhattisgarh, those using social media through proxy servers in Jammu and Kashmir, and journalists in Manipur, among others – this caution holds significant importance. 

Also Read: Chhattisgarh Maoists Attack

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