The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

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The Act being the Central Government’s enactment was provided with the short title as ‘the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967’ (Act no. 37 of 1967). The same was enacted to make provisions as to more effective prevention of Individual’s and associations’ certain unlawful activities. The Act was amended by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004 and also the Amending Act of 2008 for adding in its long title, the object of dealing with the Terrorist Activities. The said amendments were made in pursuance with the Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations requiring all the States to take measures and actions against terrorism. The provisions of the Act extended to the whole of India. So far as the applicability of the provisions of the Act to persons are concerned, the section 1 itself says that all persons who commits any act or omission which is contrary to the provisions of this Act, should be held guilty in India, and be punished under this Act. Even commission of such acts or omission contrary to the provisions of this Act out side India, is also to be treated, as the same has been committed in India.

The Act makes its provisions under different seven chapters thereof and from amongst such chapters, the first chapter is making preliminary provisions of the Act, including short title, extension, etc. as aforesaid. Moreover, the second chapter makes provisions as to unlawful associations, wherein section 3 provides for declaration by the Central Government to the effect that any association has became unlawful, however, the Government is also required to specify the grounds on the basis of which it had declared such unlawful association. Moreover, for effecting such declaration a confirmation is required from the Tribunal under section 4 of the Act, where the Tribunal on being provided with the reference, is required to adjudicate the issue of declaration of such unlawful association. Such Tribunal is to be constituted by the Central Government under section 5, with the name and title as ‘Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal’, which is to have certain powers of the Civil Court under the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Such declaration after its confirmation by the Tribunal, will remain in force for the period of 2 years and the same can be cancelled by the Central Government within that period. The Fund of every such declared unlawful associations, if being used by any person under whose custody such fund is there, then the Central Government can make an order prohibiting such person from using such fund. However, if any person feels aggrieved under such order, then he can approached to the Court within the period of 15 days.

The next chapter of the Act makes penal provisions, wherein section 10 as amended by the Amending Act of 2004, provides that if any person from the association after being declared as unlawful under this Act, continues to be a member thereof, takes part in its meetings, makes contribution of any kind for its purposes or otherwise acted in the manner as provided under the provision, then he should be held guilty under the Act, and punishment can extend to life imprisonment and should not be below 5 years imprisonment along with fine. Similarly, the punishment for dealing with funds of the unlawful association is upto 3 years imprisonment and fine also. Besides this, the Act also provides for punishment in respect of contravening the order made in respect of a notified place and also for unlawful activities.

Further, chapter IV of the Act makes provisions for penal provisions as to terrorist activities. Section 15 of the Act defines the terrorist act as an act done with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, etc. of India by using various destructive substances provide under the provision. The punishment for such acts, is death penalty, if the same results in death of any persons and in other cases, the punishment can extend to life imprisonment and minimum 5 years punishment is given. Similarly, there are different punishments provided for other relevant terrorist acts. Further the next chapter is dealing with provisions of forfeiture of the proceeds of terrorism to the Central Government, which no one is entitled to hold. The provisions of this chapter was inserted by the Amending Act of 2004.

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The chapter VI of the Act makes provisions as to terrorist organization, where the Organisations which are identified as a terrorist one, in the Resolution adopted by the Security Council of UN, should be added to the Schedule of this Act by the Central Government. Similarly, removal of any organisation can also be made by the Central Government under this Act. Also the Act makes association with the Terrorist organisation, taking part in their activities, etc. and even supporting or funding it as the offence under the Act.

At the end portion of the Act i.e. the Chapter VII thereof, the Act makes miscellaneous provisions, wherein the Central Government is empowered to direct delegation of powers to the State Government and such State Government can also with the prior approval from the Centre, direct the delegation of those powers to any person subordinate to it. Further, provisions as to investigation, search, seizure, arrest, etc. have been provided under subsequent provisions to the Act. And finally, the Act also makes other relevant provisions which are also being important so far as the purpose of this Act is concerned.

The provisions of this Act were many time amended by certain Amending Acts including the Act of 1969, Act of 1972, Act of 1986, Act of 2004 and Act of 2008, also recently in the year 2012, the provision were amended by the Act no. 3 of 2013 providing several updated provisions in respect to the purpose of this Act and to make it more effective in preventing unlawful activities, and meeting commitments made at the Financial Action Task Force (an intergovernmental organization to combat money laundering and terrorism financing).

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 by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.