What is the National Security Law? Here’s everything you need to know
The National Security Act is an Act of the Indian Parliament enacted on September 23, 1980, resolving the purpose of the Preventive Detention Act. Preventive detention consists of preventing an individual from committing a crime without trial or conviction by a court. The purpose of detention is not to punish the individual for the past offense but to prevent him from committing a future offence. It is mainly based on suspicion and there are several laws relating to the preventive detention law.
The NSA is mentioned in Article 22(3) of the Indian constitution, which allows preventive detention and restriction of personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order. Furthermore, article 22(4) mentions that no law exists to authorize the detention of a person for more than three months unless the advisory board is reported with sufficient cause for prolonged detention. The advisory council is made up of judges from the High Court.
Under the 44th Amendment of 1978, the period of detention without advice from the advisory board was reduced from three to two months. Currently, the initial three-month period continues and the provision has not entered into force.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY ACT
The National Security Act (NSA) allows the central government or a state government to detain a person to prevent them from engaging in any type of activity that could compromise national security. The government can also detain the individual to prevent them from disturbing public order. The holding period is twelve months. The extension will take place if the government releases new evidence against the individual.
NATIONAL SECURITY ACT PROVISIONS
The person cannot be charged during the period of detention.
The government can prevent a person from disturbing public order and maintaining essential supplies and services to the community.
If the evidence shows that the detainee is correct, the period can be extended to more than 12 months.
REASONS FOR NSA DETENTION
The detention of individuals takes place when there is prejudice against the defense of India, relations with foreign nations or the security of India.
THE STORY BEHIND THE NATIONAL SECURITY ACT
Pre-trial detention law in India started during the colonial era.
The Bengal Regulations III of 1818 was enacted by the East India Company during the Presidency of Bengal in 1818. The law was empowered to arrest any individual for criminal intent.
Later in 1919, the British government enacted the Rowlatt Laws of 1919 which allowed the imprisonment of the suspect without trial.
The NSA is considered a close iteration of the 1950 law.
When the Preventive Detention Act 1950 expired on December 31, 1969, Indira Gandhi introduced the controversial Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in 1971.
MISA also gave the government powers similar to those of the Prevention of Detention Act.
Eventually, MISA was repealed in 1977 when the Janata party came to power, but when Indira Gandhi returned to power, she brought in the NSA.
WHEN WAS THE NSA INTRODUCED?
The National Security Act came into force under the leadership of Our Lady Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on September 23, 1980.
CRITICISM OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY ACT
The NSA has been criticized for its misuse by authorities and sometimes the government uses it as an extrajudicial power.
The maximum holding period is 12 months. It can be extended if there is new evidence against the government detainee.
A person can be detained for 10 days without being informed of the charges against him.
During this time, the person can appeal to the High Court Advisory Council, but will not be allowed to have a lawyer during the trial.
WHY IS IT IN THE NEWS?
The defendants detained are Ansar Sheikh, Salim Chikna, Imam Sheikh alias Sonu, Dilshad and Aheed.