Home Minister Amit Shah Says, " India Would Finish Terrorism By Building A Strong NIA"
The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha today, after a detailed discussion and a spirited defense by Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah.
While replying to the debate on the Bill to give powers to NIA to investigate the terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, today in Lok Sabha, the Home Minister backed a strong NIA to strengthen the legal framework against terrorism. He said that conviction has been achieved in 90% of the cases decided so far, which is one of the finest records in the world. Shah hailed the NIA for its achievements and said that India would finish terrorism by building a strong NIA.
Allaying opposition's apprehensions on misuse of agencies the Home Minister quoted the Prime Minister and said that this Government is governed by Rule of Law and all investigative agencies follow the procedure established by law. He reassured the House that the agency would not be misused in any way by the Government.
Minister said that the POTA should not have been removed in the first place, as it led to a rise in acts of terror. This has been corroborated by Indian security agencies as well, he added. Home Minister also questioned why the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast were allowed to walk free even when American agencies found their involvement in the act of terror.
Reiterating 'Zero Tolerance' policy of the Government against terrorism, Amit Shah said "Terrorism is Terrorism, it's neither RIGHT nor LEFT. Perpetrators of terrorist acts need to be punished and will get punished." All political parties, members of Parliament and the Government must come together to fight terror without pointing fingers at each other, otherwise, it would boost the morale of the terrorists.
Mr. Shah said, "We care for the widows of our martyred soldiers, we care for their sacrifices. Thus, it is important to strengthen NIA to investigate terror-related crimes and bring justice to these widows."
The Home Minister said that by designating special courts, the cases would be expedited and transfers or delay in appointments of judges would not delay them.
While taking part in the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy reinforced Government's federal outlook and said that state police teams and other agencies would work in coordination with NIA in terror-related matters. There would be no encroachment by the Centre on the activities of the State machinery, he added.
Mr. Reddy said that the multi-agency center would be strengthened and sharing of information between the Centre and states on terrorism-related matters would be smoothened. There would be no discrimination among the agencies.
The Minister further added that terrorism has no religion, no caste, no gender. It is against humanity. The Government will take all stakeholders along with itself in fighting terrorism, following a 'Zero Tolerance Policy'.
- The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah, on July 8, 2019. The Bill amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008. The Act provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). Further, the Act allows for creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
- Scheduled offences: The schedule to the Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA. These include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The Bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
- Jurisdiction of the NIA: The Act provides for the creation of the NIA to investigate and prosecute offences specified in the schedule. The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India. The Bill states that in addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries. The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
- Special Courts: The Act allows the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The Bill amends this to state that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court. When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will distribute cases among the courts. Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.