Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 

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Delhi Police has arrested Umar Khalid under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in the Delhi riots of February 2020. 


What is an ‘unlawful’ activity as per the act? 

  • The Act defines unlawful activity as any action — spoken or written words, signs, or visible representation — which is intended or supports any claim to bring about secession of any part of India or which incites anyone towards secession; disclaims, questions, disrupts or intends to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; and “which causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India”. The word “disaffection” has not been defined in the law, and finds mention only once. 


About UAPA  

  • It is a law which is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. 
  • Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India. 
  • It empowered appropriate authorities to declare any association as ‘unlawful’ if it is carrying out ‘unlawful activities’. 
  • This law was comprehensively amended by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004 to deal with terrorist activities. Like POTA, it defines a ‘terrorist act’ and also defines a “terrorist organisation” as an organisation listed in the Schedule or an organisation operating under the same name as an organisation so listed. 
  • It further provides a mechanism for forfeiture of the proceeds of terrorism apart from providing stringent punishments for terrorism related offences. 
  • Further, it is amended in by Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019. Thus, at present the only Union Legislation dealing specifically with terrorism is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2019. 
  • Following the last amendment in 2019, an individual can be designated a terrorist; only organisations could be designated earlier. UAPA cases are tried by special courts. 
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