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POTA
Emblem of India.svg
Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date enacted 2002
Repeals
2004

The Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) was an anti-terrorism legislation enacted by the Parliament of India in 2002. The act replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001 and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) (1985-95) and was supported by the governing National Democratic Alliance. The act was repealed in 2004 by the United Progressive Alliance coalition.

Contents

Purpose

The act provided the legal framework to strengthen administrative rights to fight terrorism within the country of India and was to be applied against any persons and acts covered by the provisions within the act. It was not meant as a substitute for action under ordinary criminal laws.

The act defined what a terrorist act and a terrorist is and grants special powers to the investigating authorities described under the act. To ensure certain powers were not misused and human rights violations would not take place, specific safeguards were built into the act.[1] Under the new law detention of a suspect for up to 180 days without the filing of charges in court was permitted. It also allowed law enforcement agencies to withhold the identities of witnesses and treat a confession made to the police as an admission of guilt. Under regular Indian law, a person can deny such confessions in court, but not under POTA.[2]

Repeal and reintroduced

Once the Act became law there surfaced many reports of the law being grossly abused.[3] Claims emerged that POTA legislation contributed to corruption within the Indian police and judicial system.[4] Human rights and civil liberty groups fought against it. The use of the Act became one of the issues during the 2004 election. The United Progressive Alliance government of India committed to repealing the act as part of their campaigning. On October 7, 2004, the Union Cabinet approved the repeal of POTA.[5]. However, after the Bombay attacks of November 26, 2008 parliament enacted another anti terror law known as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.[citation needed]

Prominent POTA cases

  • Vaiko, a prominent Tamil politician, was controversially arrested under the POTA for his support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
  • After the Mumbai Blasts of August 2003, three suspects were arrested under the POTA act.[1]. The act was repealed the following year in 2004. In July 2006, a series of train bombings occurred in Mumbai. In late November 2008, Mumbai was hit with the worst terrorist attack in recent Indian history. This has led some people to question the wisdom of repealing POTA, as there has been an escalation of terrorist attacks of worsening magnitudes.[6]
  • S.A.R. Geelani, a lecturer at Delhi University, was sentenced to death by a special POTA court for his alleged role in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. He was later acquitted on appeal by the Delhi Bench of the High Court on a legal technicality.[7]
  • Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami group, arrested under POTA.
  • Raghuraj Pratap Singh, a.k.a Raja Bhaiya, a mobster and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Kunda, India was arrested on the orders of then Chief Minister, Mayawati Kumari. He was sent to jail under POTA.

References

  1. ^ Press Information Bureau Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 Retrieved on June 30, 2008
  2. ^ Rediff.com Its goodbye to POTA Retrieved on July 10, 2007
  3. ^ Kalhan, Anil et al. (2006). Colonial Continuities: Human Rights, Antiterrorism, and Security Laws in India. 20 Colum. J. Asian L. 93. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=970503. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  4. ^ "Corruption in Indian Police". SVP National Police Academy. 2004. http://www.svpnpa.gov.in/Publication/2004janjun.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  5. ^ Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples Appeal Updates Retrieved July 9, 2007
  6. ^ "Bombay On Its Knees". Nazar. 2008-11-28. http://nazaronline.net/politics_society/2008/11/bombay-on-its-knees/. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  7. ^ Frontline Targeting Geelani Retrieved on July 7, 2007

External links

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POTA
Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date enacted 2002
Repeals
2004

The Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) was an anti-terrorism legislation enacted by the Parliament of India in 2002. The act replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001 and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) (1985-95) and was supported by the governing National Democratic Alliance. The act was repealed in 2004 by the United Progressive Alliance coalition. The bill was defeated in the Rajya Sabha or the upper house by 113-98[1] but was passed in a joint session as the Lok Sabha has more seats. It was the only the third time when a bill was passed by a joint session of both houses of parliament.

Contents

Purpose

The act provided the legal framework to strengthen administrative rights to fight terrorism within the country of India and was to be applied against any persons and acts covered by the provisions within the act. It was not meant as a substitute for action under ordinary criminal laws.

The act defined what a terrorist act and a terrorist is and grants special powers to the investigating authorities described under the act. To ensure certain powers were not misused and human rights violations would not take place, specific safeguards were built into the act.[2] Under the new law detention of a suspect for up to 180 days without the filing of charges in court was permitted. It also allowed law enforcement agencies to withhold the identities of witnesses and treat a confession made to the police as an admission of guilt. Under regular Indian law, a person can deny such confessions in court, but not under POTA.[3]

Repeal and reintroduced

Once the Act became law there surfaced many reports of the law being grossly abused.[4] Claims emerged that POTA legislation contributed to corruption within the Indian police and judicial system.[5] Human rights and civil liberty groups fought against it. The use of the Act became one of the issues during the 2004 election. The United Progressive Alliance government of India committed to repealing the act as part of their campaigning. On October 7, 2004, the Union Cabinet approved the repeal of POTA.[6]. However, after the Bombay attacks of November 26, 2008 parliament enacted another anti terror law known as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.[citation needed]

Prominent POTA cases

  • Vaiko, a prominent Tamil politician, was controversially arrested under the POTA for his support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
  • After the Mumbai Blasts of August 2003, three suspects were arrested under the POTA act.[1]. The act was repealed the following year in 2004. In July 2006, a series of train bombings occurred in Mumbai. In late November 2008, Mumbai was hit with the worst terrorist attack in recent Indian history. This has led some people to question the wisdom of repealing POTA, as there has been an escalation of terrorist attacks of worsening magnitudes.[7]
  • S.A.R. Geelani, a lecturer at Delhi University, was sentenced to death by a special POTA court for his alleged role in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. He was later acquitted on appeal by the Delhi Bench of the High Court on a legal technicality.[8]
  • Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami group, arrested under POTA.
  • Raghuraj Pratap Singh, a.k.a Raja Bhaiya, a mobster and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Kunda, India was arrested on the orders of then Chief Minister, Mayawati Kumari. He was sent to jail under POTA.

References

  1. ^ "It's Not POTA. Yet". OutlookIndia.com. 21 March 2002. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?214958. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Press Information Bureau Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 Retrieved on June 30, 2008
  3. ^ Rediff.com Its goodbye to POTA Retrieved on July 10, 2007
  4. ^ Kalhan, Anil et al. (2006). Colonial Continuities: Human Rights, Antiterrorism, and Security Laws in India. 20 Colum. J. Asian L. 93. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=970503. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Corruption in Indian Police". SVP National Police Academy. 2004. http://www.svpnpa.gov.in/Publication/2004janjun.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-02. [dead link]
  6. ^ Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples Appeal Updates Retrieved July 9, 2007
  7. ^ "Bombay On Its Knees". Nazar. 2008-11-28. http://nazaronline.net/politics_society/2008/11/bombay-on-its-knees/. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  8. ^ Frontline Targeting Geelani Retrieved on July 7, 2007

External links


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