The Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act, 1983

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The Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act, 1983 (Act no. 33 of 1983) was enacted by the Parliament of India in the 34th year of republic of India, as the piece of Central Government legislation. The main object and purpose for which the present enactment was passed to make better provisions to suppress the dis- order and to restore and maintain the Public Order in the areas being disturbed in the Chandigarh. The enactment with its provisions, was given assent by the honourable President of India on 8th day of December, 1983 and for its commencement date, the Act makes provision and provides that the provisions herein to be treated to have effected or were brought into force on 7th day of October, 1983. The entire areas of the Union Territory of Chandigarh were made subject to provisions of this Act as extended under section 1. There are only few provisions in the Act divided in to the seven contemplated sections.

The first provision, as afore discussed, deals with the short titling, extension and also with the commencement date of the present enactment. And for defining and ascertaining the meaning of the several terms in the Act, the section 2 of the Act describes those terms, including ‘Administrator’ which means the person appointed under Article 239 of the Indian Constitution, as such for the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The anther important term which here sought to be defined is ‘Disturbed Area’ which here means an area so declared within the provision of next section in this Act.

Section 3 of the Act is of very importance as it specifies the declaratory powers in relation to such disturbed areas. The Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, here made empowered make such declaration to the effect that any part either whole or partial areas of the said Union Territory to be the Disturbed area. For making such declaration, the said Administrator is required to publish notification in the Official Gazette and in the same notification, he should also specify the intended areas for such declaration.

The purpose for declaring such disturbed areas is clarified by the section 4 of the Act, where it was provided that, when any persons found contravening any provisions of any laws, orders, etc. which are having force in the said disturbed areas, dealing with prohibition on the assembly of five or more than five persons or dealing with carrying of weapons, etc., against such persons, the Magistrate or Police Officer not being inferior to the Sub-Inspector or Havildar when in case of the Armed Branch of the Police can fire or even can used force which may even extend to causing death. While firing or using force, or even causing of death against those persons, the condition provided that for doing so there must be reasons showing that the same is necessary in the maintenance of Public Order and also there must be give earlier warning to those persons, and after complying with all such essential conditions only, such fire, etc. is permitted.

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Not only this, but the Act also makes provisions empowering such Magistrate or Police personnel as aforesaid, to destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or even shelters, etc. where from the attacks of arm were made. Such destruction can also be made only after having belief to the effect that the same is necessary in the public order.

And the Act makes it very clear that, the Officials, either being any afore said Magistrate of Police personnel, who whenever are acting in the foregoing discussed provisions (under sections 4 and 5), should not be taken for prosecution in any kind of legal actions. However, the rule is having exception, as the Central Government’s prior sanction will be necessary for instituting any suits or such prosecution, etc. against such officials. At the end, by the last section, the Act repealed the Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Ordinance, 1983 (Ordinance no. 6 of 1983), however, the actions taken or things done in the furtherance to the provisions of that Ordinance, are protected by this Act and the same are taken to mean that as they are done in furtherance to the provisions of this present Act under the corresponding provisions therein.

However, notably, it is in the year 2014, recently, the present enactment was recommended for repeal by the 20th Law Commission of India, in its ‘Fourth Interim Report- Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal’ (Report no. 251) on its study on the subject of ‘Legal Enactments: Simplifications and Streamlining” (LESS). The reason put forwarded by the Commission was that In the year 2012, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in the case of Surinder Bhardwaj v. Union Territory of Chandigarh and Another, (2013) removed the ‘disturbed area’ tag off the city of Chandigarh as such the present Act does not serve any purpose.

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Download & Read the Bare Act: The Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act, 1983-pdf

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