The Functioning of the National Investigation Agency(NIA)

What is the News?

The National Investigation Agency(NIA) has taken over the probe into the terrible beheading of a person in Udaipur.

What is the National Investigation Agency(NIA)?

NIA was constituted under the National Investigation Agency(NIA) Act, 2008.

Mandate: It is a Central Agency mandated to investigate all the offences affecting:

– Sovereignty, security and integrity of India,

– Friendly relations with foreign states,

– Offenses under the statutory laws enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organizations.

Note: The offences include terror acts and their possible links with crimes like smuggling of arms, drugs and fake Indian currency and infiltration from across the borders.

Powers: NIA has the power to search, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in such offences.

Headquarters: New Delhi

NIA Jurisdiction: The law under which NIA operates extends to the whole of India. It also applies to: 1) Indian citizens outside the country, 2) Persons in the service of the government wherever they are posted, 3) Persons on ships and aircraft registered in India wherever they may be and 4) Persons who commit a scheduled offence beyond India against the Indian citizen or affecting the interest of India.

Scheduled Offences: The schedule of the Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA. These include: 1) Explosive Substances Act, 2) Atomic Energy Act, 3) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 4) Anti-Hijacking Act, 5) Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 6) SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 7) Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 8) Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and 9) Relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Information Technology Act.

In 2020, the Centre empowered the NIA to also probe offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that are connected to terror cases.

How does the NIA take up the probe?

As provided under Section 6 of the Act, State governments can refer the cases pertaining to the scheduled offences registered at any police station to the Central government (Union Home Ministry) for NIA investigation.

– After assessing the details made available, the Centre can then direct the NIA to take over the case. State governments are required to extend all assistance to the NIA.

– Even when the Central government is of the opinion that a scheduled offence has been committed which is required to be investigated under the Act, it may, suo motu, direct the agency to take up/over the probe.

Source: The post is based on the articleThe Functioning of the National Investigation Agency(NIA) published in The Hindu on 4th July 2022.

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