Chidambaram highlights the provision of anti-terror law in Parliament

December 17th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Dec.17 (ANI): Introducing a bill on stringent anti-terror law in the Parliament on Wednesday, the Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram highlighted the bills important provisions.
In the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA) bill, he said even while making tough provisions the Courts have been given the powers to decide on the prosecutions case in the matter of bail and presumption of guilt on the accused in some specific cases.
When the State Government sends the information to the Central government, the Centre within fifteen days would decide, having regard to the gravity of the offence, whether it is fit to be taken up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“In many cases, I expect the NIA to ask the State Governments to associate themselves,” Chidambaram said adding, The NIA would investigate offences under eight laws, including the Atomic Energy Act and The Anti-Hijacking Act.
Judges to be appointed to the Special Courts under NIA would be done in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Courts and cases would be heard on day-to-day basis.
Appeals would lie with the division bench of the High Court and should be disposed off in three months under the NIA, he added.
“The court can deal with the bail application but not without giving an opportunity to the prosecution,” he said referring to the provision in the UAPA.
On the presumption of offence, a provision has been introduced in the UAPA that the court could make such an inference under certain circumstances.
Under the bill, if finger prints, blood stain, DNA and weapons of offence are recovered from the crime scene, it will be the first duty of the Court to presume the offence while it will be the second duty of the accused to provide contrary evidence.
“Where there is definitive evidence suggesting involvement of the accused, the courts can presume he is guilty, Chidambaram said, adding in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi many of the accused escaped because of lack of such a provision.
“This will apply to the Special Courts to be set up under the NIA, and the High Courts and the Supreme Court would not be bound by this, he said.
A fair balance of all views without compromising the ability of the agency to prosecute offences without disregard to the fundamental human rights has been taken and keeping in mind the valued rights,” he added.
“An investigation can be done against anybody under the new law, prosecution can be initiated only after sanction by an appropriate authority of Central government, Chidambaram said.
“There is a pre-sanction filter,” he said while talking about provisions to safeguard rights of people.
A judge appointed to a special court under the NIA bill will have to complete the trial even if it requires extension of his or her service beyond super-annuation, pointing out that it was aimed at doing away with delays caused by change of judge.
Chidambaram, however, said he could not specify the time-frame by which trial in a case could be completed as it depends on the court.(ANI)

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