Miscues of NSA by Government Authorities
Updated: Feb 18
The Constitution of India provides the citizens with the power to elect their government as per their choice and paved the path for democracy. The government authorities i.e., commission, the central bank, board, bureau, court works as per the norms and the order of the government. What if this government and government authorities misuse the National Security Act against some of the citizens and harm the reputation of those people? Recently in covid-19 pandemic time, this NSA was applied to several persons for many reasons.
The National Security Act has been widely outraged by governmental authorities to retain trade union leaders, human rights activists, political oppositions, impoverished castes and creeds, and criminal suspects for an extended duration without the least precautions that the Constitution of India.
Since the advent, the National security Act has been used too frequently as a political projectile of those in power against their political enemies.
What is NSA?
NSA is known as the National Security Act. This Act was promulgated by the parliament of India on 23rd September 1980.
It has various draconian provisions, among them some of which are being increasingly used to detain human rights defenders across India. The Act concentrates on conserving law and order in the nation and includes 18 sections in the Act.
The NSA Act authorizes the government to detain a person if the authorities are satisfied that the person is a risk to national security or to deter the person from disrupting public order.
This endows the central government and state governments to confine a person to prevent him or her from performing in any matter prejudicial to national security. The government also can take the person in detention to prevent him or her from disrupting public order or for the supervision of allowances and services important to society. A person can be detained under the NSA for 10 days without being notified of the penalties against him or her.
According to NSA, the ultimate duration of detained a person is 12 months but the government can expand the detention if they want. Moreover, the detained person is not allowed to assist from any lawyer in any matter related to the proceedings before an advisory commission, formed by the government for dealing with National Security Act issues.
Historical background of NSA
The seed of the National Security Act was implanted by the East India Company in the colonial period. In 1818, Bengal Regulation III was legislated in the Presidency of Bengal to provide the British government to detain any person, based on suspicion of a criminal purpose, and without retaining to commit the detainee to prosecution.
In 1919, the Rowlatt Act was enacted by the Imperial Legislative Council to imprison any person presumed of unlawful activities.
It approved the government to imprison persons for up to 2 years without prosecution. This Act entrusted the authority to search for a place without a warrant. On 13th April 1919, the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy was an outcome of the riot against the Rowlatt Act.
In 1935, the Government of India Act endowed the state to begin preventative custody for reasons pertained to defense, outside affairs, or discharge of crown purposes in its connections with the states of India.
Later the execution of the Constitution of India, Article 21 of the fundamental rights ensured every citizen the right to life and liberty and this right could not be refuted to a person without honoring the due procedure established by law.
Article 22 of the Constitution of India held the methods under which a preventative detention law could be legislated. After independence, India obtained the first preventative detention law after the Congress Government authorized the Preventive Detention Act 1950.
After that, the former prime minister of India, as well as the leader of Congress Indira Gandhi, introduced the National Security Act in the post-independence era by replacing the National Security Ordinance in 1980.
Misuse of NSA
In September 2020, in the case of Dr. Kafeel Khan, the Allahabad High Court stated that the National Security Act is a highly misused statute. The main purpose of the NSA is to deter individuals from committing crimes against the state. But now the issue of NSA is being misapplied due to political parties. Now NSA is applied in cow slaughter, cattle smuggling cases. The Muslim and Dalit communities involved in the cattle business are highly targeted by this Act. In 2019 NSA was conjured against three persons involved in cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh.
In Uttar Pradesh, NSA was summoned in the case of cow slaughter and cattle smuggling against the minor and Dalit community. In cow slaughtering cases, the slaughter of a cow was looked upon as a criminal offense but the act of killing a cow is common after the animal passed. Now what might be recognized as a crime, was formerly just a way of earning for livelihood.
The NSA was discriminatory use by the empowered governments. Due to religious and caste discrimination, politicians of empowered governments have targeted members of specific communities. People belonging to minority communities have been imprisoned, disproportionately interrogated, and charged under the national security laws.
The NSA is ambiguous and therefore it provides more discretionary abilities to the authorities to creating misuse of powers. The NSA entirely compels the citizen from detention, right to freedom of speech, expression, and movement in India.
Recent use of NSA
The National Security Act has been in the news for all the improper reasons. Some of the recent uses of the National Security Act are stated below:
● On 21st November 2018, Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, editor at ISTV, an Imphal-based news channel, was arrested under NSA for uploading a video clip on social media in which he had allegedly criticized BJP-led Chief Minister N Biren Singh a "puppet of Hindutva" for discovering Rani Lakshmi Bai's birth anniversary. Manipur High Court had granted the bail of Kishorechandra Wangkhem from detention.India is a democratic country and, in a democracy, the citizen has the right to criticize the government as per Article 19(1) of the fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.
● In January 2020, the capital of India New Delhi became the ground of the protest against the new citizenship Law and the National Register of Citizens. The minor communities and the students of respective universities protest against the new Acts enacted by the Parliament. To steady the protest, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi approved an order granting the Commissioner of Police with the power to detain under the National Security Act for three months from 19 January and 18 April 2020.
● In December 2019, Dr. Kafeel Khan, a renowned doctor from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested under the National Security Act over his plausible anti-CAA lecture at Aligarh Muslim University. Also, a case was reported against him for emphasizing hatred between the religions. On 10th February 2020, the Aligarh Court granted them bail but Khan was not released from jail. Penalties under the National Security Act summoned against him. The empowered government in Uttar Pradesh expanded Khan’s custody for three months. In September 2020 the Allahabad high court released Khan’s custody under the NSA as the state government’s opinion to imprison Dr. Khan was “not sustainable in the eye of the law”.
India is a secular, Democratic, and Republic country. The people resided in India without any discrimination on race, color, religion, gender, and any other status. But in truth, the minor communities and the backward people often face discrimination by politics. The NSA Act was a rigorous law applied against the persons who harm the welfare and safety of the country, harming the Indian relations with foreign nations, impeding the maintenance and supply of necessary services to the neighborhood but at present, the NSA is cases of Sugarcane Mafia, cow slaughter and power theft and the NSA is highly misused by the government. In the case of the NSA, the judiciary is the last opportunity available to victims to prove them innocent. To stop the miscues of NSA, this law must not be used for regular issues, it should be used under a special situation to deter illegal activities, not as a bad intention of the empowered government.
National Security Act (India) – Wikipedia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Act_(India)#:~:text=The%20whole%20of%20India.&text=The%20National%20Security%20Act%20of,to%20the%20whole%20of%20India. What you must know about NSA: Its scope and provisions - Business Insider India, https://www.businessinsider.in/politics/news/what-you-must-know-about-nsa-its-scope-and-provisions/articleshow/75195346.cms.
Bengal Regulation III of 1818 – Wikipedia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_Regulation_III_of_1818#:~:text=The%20law%20empowered%20the%20administration,Presidencies%20of%20Madras%20and%20Bombay. Rowlatt Act & Jallianwala Bagh Massacre - History & Significance, https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/rowlatt-act-and-jallianwala-bagh-massacre/. Allahabad High Court Sets Aside NSA Detention of Kafeel Khan, https://thewire.in/law/allahabad-high-court-nsa-detention-kafeel-khan-set-aside. 3 booked under NSA for cow slaughter in MP, first since Congress came to power | Hindustan Times, https://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/national-security-act-against-three-men-accused-of-cow-slaughter-in-madhya-pradesh/story-uhps4NL24COEoREwSnfSGO.html. Of 139 Booked Under NSA In UP This Year, 76 Accused Of Cow Slaughter, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-of-139-booked-under-nsa-in-up-this-year-76-accused-of-cow-slaughter/358965. Manipur journalist jailed for 12 months under NSA for criticizing State, Central governments - The Hindu, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/manipur-journalist-kishorechandra-wangkhemcha-jailed-for-12-months-under-nsa-for-criticising-bjp-government/article25782130.ece.  Delhi placed under NSA for three months after approval from LG Baijal, https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/delhi-placed-under-nsa-for-three-months-after-approval-from-lg-baijal-120011800983_1.html.  Allahabad High Court Sets Aside NSA Detention of Kafeel Khan,https://thewire.in/law/allahabad-high-court-nsa-detention-kafeel-khan-set-aside.