It’s time victims of UAPA demanded restitution, justice

SourceThe Indian Express 

Relevance: The unfortunate death of Father Swamy has brought the spotlight again on the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),1967.

Synopsis:

Getting bail under UAPA is hard, but the State must compensate for the misuse of UAPA Provisions.

About the UAPA: 

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967 is a grossly abused legislation. Data reveal that thousands of UAPA arrests without bail in recent years. Further, there is also a minuscule conviction rate, perhaps below 2 percent.

It is invoked disproportionately, indeed overwhelmingly, against minorities, indigenous peoples, tribals, and, increasingly, those who stand up for them is well known.

Few examples of getting bail under UAPA:

Getting Bail under UAPA is a treacherous one. Father Stan Swamy’s case is one such example. Few other examples are,

  • An NIA court in Mumbai acquitted two persons charged under UAPA citing lack of evidence after they had spent almost nine years in jail.
  • Similarly, a Tripura man was discharged by the NIA court at Bengaluru. The NIA found that no charge could be framed in the absence of any material to link him with a shooting incident at the Indian Institute of Science on December 28, 2005.
Compensation for malicious prosecution under UAPA: 

The judgments granting bail to student activists along with the death of Father Stan is a wake-up call for reforming the provisions of UAPA.

  • In Nilabati Behera (1993) case, the court clarified that the doctrine of sovereign immunity has no application in the constitutional scheme. The Supreme Court under Article 32 or a High Court under Article 226 can decide compensation for a citizen for malicious loss of liberty.
    • The doctrine of Sovereign Immunity: It means that the state or the sovereign can commit no legal wrong and is immune from civil suits and criminal prosecution
  • The 277th Report of the Law Commission of India (2018) also strongly recommended institutionalized compensation.
  • Recently in Bilkis Yakub Rasool (2020) case, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh in compensation.

It’s clear, then, that the stage is set for compensation claims. So, India also has to include state compensations to limit malpractice as a practice.

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