NEW DELHI: Globally designated Pakistan-based terrorists Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed are likely to be the first individuals to be designated as “terrorists” once the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act comes into force, aligning India with international obligations mandated by the UN Security Council obligations.
Hinting at such a move, officials speaking in the background said the government would be able to choke networks linked to individually designated terrorists and share relevant data in coordinated manner with foreign agencies under several conventions once such a designation happens.
The explanations on the nature of amendments to UAPA currently being considered by Parliament came in the context of criticism that designating individuals could turn out to be a vindictive and arbitrary exercise. Action will be against individuals with a clear record and links to acts of terror, said an official.
Details of the actions under the changed law, such as seizures of assets and a travel ban, would be worked out when rules to the Act are framed after the bill is passed by Parliament and gets the President’s assent. The bill, passed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday, will go to Rajya Sabha next week where the Centre is expecting its passage by banking on support from MPs of parties such as BJD, YSRCP and TRS.
The Centre is expected to elaborate how the multi-layered appeal mechanism in the proposed law will check its misuse. Explaining the mechanism to designate an individual as a terrorist, the official said the proscription, based on involvement in terror acts, will happen only after the home ministry’s approval. The individual would have the option to appeal to the home secretary who will have to dispose of the case in 45 days.Once that is done, the person can move an “independent review committee” led by a sitting or retired HC judge with at least two retired secretaries to the government of India as members. The individual can even move court against the panel’s decision.
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