The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 was enacted to provide some special authorities to members under the armed forces belonging to the disturbed areas in the Jammu and Kashmir State. The Act is applicable only to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and came into effect on July 5, 1990. According to the provisions of the Act, armed forces includes the military as well as the air forces which functions as land forces and consists of other armed forces under the Central Government engaged in similar functions. Disturbed area includes area that is declared to be so according to the provisions of the Act. Where the definitions are not provided under the present Act, the terms shall be construed as defined under the Air Force Act, 1950 or the Army Act, 1950.

The Governor of the State or the Central Government is empowered under the Act to declare some parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir as disturbed area if it considers that such parts are disturbed or under risky situation that the action of the armed forces is essential to prevent such State from attacks or disasters. The Governor or the Central Government can proclaim so if the activities contain terrorist attacks or striking alarm in the people or harmfully disturbing the unification between various groups of people. Moreover, the activities should also express towards denying, inquiring or disturbing the power and territorial honor of India or conveying about cession or secession of a part of the Indian Territory or insulting the National Flag of India, National Anthem or Indian Constitution. The terrorist act provided under the Act had to be interpreted similar to the meaning of the term provided under Article 248 of the Indian Constitution.

The commissioned or non-commissioned officer or warrant officer is empowered under the Act to maintain social order by giving warning if necessary, employ force or fire upon which even extends to death against such person who performs in the disturbed area violating law and social order by restricting the unlawful assembly that handles weapons or fire-arms, explosive materials or ammunition. He can also take charge or action to destruct arms store or safeguard the persons from the place where attacks are likely to happen or he can protect a structure camp or even volunteers from such attacks or terrorist acts. Such officer is under authority to arrest any person even without warrant who has done a cognizable offence or a suspicious person and employ force to arrest such person if necessitated. Such officer can enter any premises, conduct search and arrest a person for the purpose of recovering any detained person or recover a stolen property or any explosives that are kept unlawfully and can seize such recovered items even using force.

Besides, the person so arrested by the officer and detained under custody as provided under the Act and the items or explosives, vehicle etc seized according to the provisions of the Act shall be handed over to an officer under duty of the police station which is close to the incident without any holdup added with report of the incidents that happened and led to the arrest or give reasons for the seizure of the explosives, property and other items. The officer conducting search is entrusted under the Act to break open the doors, cupboards, almirah, locks, box, drawers etc if the key of such things are withheld. The officers or any person acting under the authority given under the Act shall not be prosecuted or initiate legal proceedings unless approved by the Central Government.

The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 repealed The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Ordinance, 1990 and the acts done under the authority of the ordinance shall be considered to be valid as if such act was done as per the provisions of the present Act.