Monday, October 12, 2015

Amnesty releases interactive map of tens of Indian laws allowing "illegal detention", demands their urgent repeal

https://www.amnesty.org.in/lawlesslaws/
Laws applied in Gujarat for "illegal" detention
By Our Representative
World’s powerful human rights organization Amnesty International has alleged that there is a “continuing use of administrative detention laws in India to lock up persons without charge or trial”, violating “the rights of both suspects and victims of human rights abuses.”
An interactive online map published by it shows how nearly states retain these laws to “detain people on executive orders without charge or trial.”
Asking the Government of India and all state governments to “repeal all administrative detention laws”, an Amnesty statement says, “Detained persons must be charged with recognizably criminal offences and promptly prosecuted in fair trials, or else released.” The interactive map shows several states have their own laws which allow "illegal detention", apart from they using certain Central laws.
Gujarat, for instance, uses Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, 1985, which allows for detention without charge of trial for up to one year to prevent a person "from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.” Rajasthan copied the Gujarat law in 2006, coming with the Rajasthan Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 2006.
Maharashtra, on the other hand, has Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Dangerous Persons and Video Pirates Act, 1981, which allows for detention without charge of trial for up to six months to prevent a person "from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order".
Then, Karnataka has Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Acid Attackers, Bootleggers, Depredator of Environment, Digital Offenders, Drug Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Land Grabbers, Money Launderers, Sexual Predators and Video or Audio pirates Act, 1985.
The law allows for detention without charge or trial of up to 12 months of "any acid attacker or bootlegger or depredator of environment or digital offender or drug offender or gambler or goonda or immoral traffic offender or land-grabber or money launderer or sexual predator or video or audio pirate...to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order".
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh use Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Boot-Leggers, Dacoits, Drug-Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986, which allows for detention without charge of trial of up to 12 months of any “bootlegger, dacoit, drug-offender, goonda, immoral traffic offender or land grabber...with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.”
All states use National Security Act, 1980 with impunity, as it allows for detention without charge or trial for up to 12 months to prevent a person "from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers, or the security of India".
It also prevents a person "from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community".
Commenting on these laws, Abhirr VP, Rapid Response Campaigner at Amnesty International India, has said, “Every government has a duty to bring to justice those suspected of crimes. But every government also has a duty to respect fair trial rights, and the criminal justice system loses credibility when people are detained for no good reason.”
He adds, “Administrative detention circumvents the safeguards of a fair trial, and undermines the rule of law”, with the Supreme Court has called administrative detention statutes “lawless laws”.
Amnesty’s statement says, “Data from the National Crime Records Bureau released in September 2015 indicate that over 3200 people were being held in administrative detention in Indian jails in December 2014”, adding, “Periods of possible detention under state laws range from six months to two years. Authorities can impose preventive detention for a range of activities in different states, including boot-legging, land-grabbing and even video piracy.”
“The procedures and standards of proof of the ordinary criminal justice process are meant to minimize the risk of innocent individuals being punished. But India’s administrative detention laws function as a parallel system, and are used to detain individuals for long periods instead of charging and prosecuting them in a court of law,” adds Abhirr VP, adding, “Not prosecuting persons suspected of offences also violates the victims’ rights to justice.”

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