Plea in SC challenging amendments to UAPA Act

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, Aug 22 A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Act, 2019, notified by the Centre, to designate an individual as a terrorist.

According the petition, designating an individual terrorist without giving him an opportunity of being heard violates the individual’s right to reputation and dignity as he faces a lifelong stigma and this tarnishes his reputation for life.

The petition, filed the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, an NGO, has sought direction to declare sections 35 and 36 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act unconstitutional and void as they violated the fundamental rights of individuals.

Section 35 of the amended Act didn’t mention when a person could be designated terrorist, whether on mere registration of an FIR or upon conviction in a terror related case, designating a person as terrorist on a mere belief of the government was arbitrary and excessive, it said.

“A person is never informed of grounds of his notification, so the remedy of challenging it under section 36, as provided for in the Act, is rendered practically otiose,” the plea said.

Last week, another similar plea was filed by Sajal Awasthi,, a resident of Delhi, urging the top court to declare the amendment unconstitutional.

The Act was in violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (right to equality), 19 (right to free speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) in the Constitution, said the petitioner.

Earlier, under UAPA 1967, only organisation could be notified as terrorist.

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