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Parliament Passes Bill To Expand Powers Of National Investigation Agency [Read Bill]

Live Law News Network
17 July 2019 3:50 PM GMT
Parliament Passes Bill To Expand Powers Of National Investigation Agency [Read Bill]
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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019, which seeks to expand the powers and jurisdiction of the NIA.

Lok Sabha had cleared the Bill on Monday.

Tabling the Bill in the upper house, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that expansion of NIA powers was necessary in view of the surge in trans-border terrorism, human trafficking and cyber crimes.

Opposition members from TMC, CPI(M), TRS and CPI objected to the expansion of powers of NIA and demanded scrutiny of the Bill by the standing committee.

Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha from Congress said that the expansion of NIA powers will make inroads into powers of State police. Dr A M Singhvi from Congress said that NIA had a bad record of securing convictions in high profile cases.

Derek O Brien of Trinamool Congress said that the Bill will allow NIA to become 'National Interfering Agency'.

Since NIA has a "dubious" record of undermining probe in cases such as Melegaon blasts, Samjautha blasts case, Mecca Masjid blasts case etc., granting it more powers will lead to more misuse, K K Ragesh from CPI(M) said. 

The opposition members staged a walk out over demands for sending the Bill to standing committee.

In a voice vote, the Bill witnessed an uncontested passage in the Rajya Sabha.

New offences in Schedule

The NIA has powers to investigate the offences listed in the Schedule of the NIA Act, which now includes offences under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967, Atomic Energy Act, 1962, Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982, Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 etc.

The Bill proposes to add more offences in the Schedule such as :

  • Human trafficking (Sections 370, 370A of Indian Penal Code 1860)
  • Offences related to counterfeit currency (Sections 489A to 489E of Indian Penal Code 1860)
  • Manufacture or sale of prohibited arms (Section 25(1AA) of Arms Act,1959)
  • Cyber crimes (Section 66F Information Technology Act 2000)
  • Explosives Substances Act 1908

Extra territorial powers

The Bill seeks to give powers to NIA to investigate scheduled offences committed outside, subject to international treaties and domestic laws.

The Central Government can direct NIA to investigate such offences as if they were committed in India. The Special Court at New Delhi will have jurisdiction to try those cases.

Special Courts

Section 11 of the Act is sought to be amended to enable Central Government to notify a Court of Session as Special NIA Court after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

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