Lok Sabha passed National Investigation Agency Bill, 2019

Lok Sabha passed National Investigation Agency Bill, 2019 on 15 July after a detailed discussion and a spirited defense by Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah.

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While replying to the debate on the Bill to give powers to NIA to investigate the terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, today in Lok Sabha, the Home Minister backed a strong NIA to strengthen the legal framework against terrorism. He said that conviction has been achieved in 90% of the cases decided so far, which is one of the finest records in the world. Shri Shah hailed the NIA for its achievements and said that India would finish terrorism by building a strong NIA.

Allaying opposition’s apprehensions on misuse of agencies the Home Minister quoted the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and said that this Government is governed by Rule of Law and all investigative agencies follow the procedure established by law. He reassured the House that the agency would not be misused in any way by the Government.

Shri Shah said that the POTA should not have been removed in the first place, as it led to a rise in acts of terror. This has been corroborated by Indian security agencies as well, he added. Home Minister also questioned why the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast were allowed to walk free even when American agencies found their involvement in the act of terror.

Reiterating ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy of the Government against terrorism, Shri Shah said “Terrorism is Terrorism, it’s neither RIGHT nor LEFT. Perpetrators of terrorist acts need to be punished and will get punished.” All political parties, members of Parliament and the Government must come together to fight terror without pointing fingers at each other, otherwise it would boost the morale of the terrorists.

Shri Shah said, “We care for the widows of our martyred soldiers, we care for their sacrifices. Thus, it is important to strengthen NIA to investigate terror related crimes and bring justice to these widows.”

The Home Minister said that by designating special courts, the cases would be expedited and transfers or delay in appointments of judges would not delay them.

While taking part in the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri. G. Kishan Reddy reinforced Government’s federal outlook and said that state police teams and other agencies would work in coordination with NIA in terror related matters. There would be no encroachment by the Centre on the activities of the State machinery, he added.

Shri Reddy said that the multi-agency centre would be strengthened and sharing of information between Centre and states on terrorism related matters would be smoothened. There would be no discrimination among the agencies.

The Minister further added that terrorism has no religion, no caste, no gender. It is against humanity. The Government will take all stakeholders along with itself in fighting terrorism, following a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’.

Aim of the Bill:
The Bill also aims to create Special Courts for trial of scheduled offences under Acts like Atomic Energy Act (AEA), 1962, and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967.
Bill also seeks cyber-terrorism and offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, offences under Explosive Substances Act (1908), manufacture or sale prohibited arms and human trafficking.
The amendments will allow NIA to probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking. In every state there is only one NIA designated court and these courts would only take NIA cases and not others.

About National Investigation Agency (NIA):
The National Investigation Agency is a central agency which was established by the Indian Government on 2009. It aims to combat terror in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The nodal agency acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. NIA is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

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