Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

#GS2 #Governance 

  • The Supreme Court said that magistrates should not favour an investigating agency by extending the period of probe in Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) cases at will.
  • Under UAPA, the investigation has to be completed within 90 days. Otherwise, the accused is entitled to default bail.

How do UAPA provisions differ from regular criminal law?

  • The UAPA modifies the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to give it more teeth.
  • A remand order under UAPA can be for 30 days instead of the otherwise 15,
  • The maximum period of judicial custody is extendable to 180 days from the usual 90 days.
  • This extension depends on the Public Prosecutor filing a report on the progress in the investigation and giving reasons for seeking another 90 days to complete it.
  • The law also makes it more difficult to obtain bail.

Controversy regarding bail provisions

  • Section 43D(5) of the UAPA says that bail cannot be granted to a suspect if the court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges are prima facie true.
  • The Supreme Court judgment regarding this issue said that the court considering bail should not examine the evidence too deeply, but must go by the prosecution version based on broad probabilities. This means that the onus is on the accused to show that the case is false but without inviting the court to evaluate the available evidence.
  • This is the reason human rights defenders calls the provision draconian, virtually rendering it impossible for anyone to obtain bail until the completion of the trial.
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