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National News

Jul 15, 2019

Lok Sabha passes NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019

The Lok Sabha today passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Intervening in the debate on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah assured the Lok Sabha that it will not be misused. It is only aimed at eliminating terrorism.  Mr  Shah said, the NIA never looks at the religion of the accused persons while investigating terror cases. He emphasized that this bill will empower the investigating agency seek speedy trials and convictions. 

Responding to the allegation that the bill will be misused as was done in the case of Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Home Minister said, repealing POTA was a political decision to save vote bank. He reiterated that POTA was effective in containing terror acts in the country. He added that NIA was introduced in the absence of POTA to wipe out terrorism from the country.

Earlier, the NIA (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was moved in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. Making a preliminary submission, the Minister said that the amendment will strengthen the investigation agency to speed up trials in terrorism-related cases. The Act is meant only to empower the NIA to counter terrorism without any compromise. He hoped that the agency will be able to investigate terrorist acts against our embassies and assets abroad and take up cases of drug, arms and women trafficking apart from cyber-terrorism.

Speaking on the bill, Manish Tiwari of Congress warned that additional powers to NIA may create a police state as there are possibilities of misusing the agency for political vendetta, as he put it. He wanted investigation and prosecution to be separated to safeguard the right of the accused to access justice. The amendment, he said, should not curtail the rights of any citizen under the relevant Articles of the constitution.

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