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National Security Act (NSA), 1980

It allows preventive detention for months,if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order.....National Security Act (NSA) 1980

It allows preventive detention for months,if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order. The person does not need to be charged during this period of detention. The goal is to prevent the individual from committing a crime.

  • It was promulgated on September 23, 1980
About NSA:
  • The National Security Act was passed by the Parliament in 1980 and has been amended several times since then. 
  • NSA “empowers the state to detain a person without a formal charge and without trial”.
History of National Security Act
  • Administrative custody rules in India trace back to the colonial period, granting the state the power to detain individuals for public order without legal procedure.
  • The Rowlatt Acts of 1919 allowed for detention without trial and were implemented by the British administration in India.
  • The Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958, enacted by the Indian Parliament, was the country’s first preventive detention law after independence.
  • The National Security Act (NSA) closely resembles the 1958 Act, expanding the powers of preventive detention.
Provisions of the National Security Act, 1980
  • It allows preventive detention.
    • A person can be detained for up to 12 months without a charge.
    • A person can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them.
    • The person can appeal before a high court advisory board but will not be allowed a lawyer during the trial.
    • person in police custody can be detained.
    • A person who has been granted bail by a trial court can be immediately detained under the NSA.
    • A person acquitted by the court can be detained under the NSA.
    • States or Centre can detain a person to prevent him or her from acting in any manner prejudicial to “the security of the state” or for “maintenance of the public order”.
    • A person can be detained if he/she is a threat to India’s relations with foreign countries.
    • It empowers the government to detain foreigners and regulate their presence or expel them from India.
    • The provisions in the Act are re-notified every quarter.
    • It is an administrative order passed either by the Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate and not detention ordered by police based on specific allegations or for a specific violation of the law.
Imprisonment Under the National Security Act Provisions
  • The National Security Act (NSA) enables the authorities to hold a suspect without prosecution for 12 months. However, if the prosecution discovers additional evidence against the individual, the term might be lengthened.
  • Whenever an investigator makes an arrest, he must justify his actions toward the state legislature. The maximum detention punishment cannot exceed 12 days unless the local government accepts the investigation.
  • Take into account that the District Administration or the Superintendent of Police, depending on their authority, can issue an arrest warrant.
  • The NSA has repeatedly come under criticism for the way it is used by the police. As per a Law Commission report from 2001, more than 14 lakh people (14,57,779) were held under preventive laws in India.
  • The individual who has been arrested must be notified of the reason for their detention.
  • The freedom to consult and be represented by a lawyer of his choice cannot be denied to an arrested individual.
  • Within 24 hours, any detained individual must be brought before the nearest public prosecutor.
  • If an individual is held under NSA, neither of these defences are accessible:
  • For up to 10 days, an individual might be kept under wraps about the reason for his detention.
  • In addition, the detained individual is not given legal representation relating to the procedures in front of a government-appointed advisory committee.
  • The NSA has become a useful instrument for police and the government to avoid the formality of the Criminal Procedure Code and the court of land because it permits persons to be detained by police without needing a charge to be filed.
  • Whenever the police can’t construct a criminal trial, they employ NSA. 
  • NSA is frequently employed to react to specific laws and government problems rather than prevent future crimes. In this kind of case, the NSA becomes a disciplinary mechanism.
  • The NSA has been used to imprison people based upon that government’s determination that they are a danger to international affairs, public safety, civil security, or the provision of critical goods and services. 
Try To Solve MCQ on National Security Act (NSA), 1980

Which of the following is a true statement about the National Security Act, 1980?

A) The Act allows preventive detention only for specific violations of the law.

B) The detained person has the right to move a bail application before a criminal court.

C) A person can be detained under the Act only if he/she has been charged with a crime.

D) The Act can be invoked to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, relations of India with foreign powers or the security of India.

National Security Act (NSA) 1980

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