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Report No. 43

8.8. Defect avoided in the Unlawful Activities Act.-

It is obvious that while framing the Unlawful Activities Act, Parliament has tried to avoid the above defect. The important points of difference between the 1908 Act (as amended in Madras in 1950) and the 1967 Act, are worth pointing out.

(i) The 1908 Act1 did not categorically lay down that the notification declaring any association unlawful shall not have effect until the Advisory Board has confirmed the declaration. The 1967 Act2 provides for confirmation by the Tribunal, except in urgent cases.

(ii) In the 1908 Act3, the scope of the reference to the Advisory Board was not defined in a precise manner. In the 1967 Act4, the reference to the tribunal is specifically for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the association unlawful.

(iii) The Advisory Board constituted under the 1908 Act was to consider the materials placed before it (and any such further information as it may deem fit to call for from the State Government or the association concerned). Under the 1967 Act,5 the Tribunal has to call upon the association to show cause and to hold an 'inquiry' in the prescribed manner. (It has power to call for such further information as it considers necessary)6.

(iv) Under the 1908 Act7, the report of the Advisory Board containing its opinion as to whether or not there was sufficient cause for the issue of the notification, was to be given separately. Its proceeding and its main report were to be treated as confidential. Under the 1967 Act,8 the order of the Tribunal is required to be published in the official gazette.

(v) Under the 1908 Act,9 no person was entitled to appear before the Advisory Board, either himself or through a legal representative. In the 1967 Act, there is no such bar. Since the Tribunal holds a regular inquiry10, it must necessarily give the parties concerned an opportunity not only to appear before it, but also to argue their case. It may also be mentioned that the rules11 under the Act require the Tribunal to follow the Evidence Act.

It appears to us, therefore, that the constitutional validity of the Act is unassailable.

1. Section 16A(6), 1908 Act, as amended in Madras.

2. Section 3(3), 1967 Act.

3. Section 16A(3), 1908 Act, as amended in Madras.

4. Section 4(1), 1967 Act.

5. Sections 4(2) and 4(3), 1967 Act.

6. Section 4(3), 1967 Act.

7. Section 16A(5), 1908 Act, as amended in Madras.

8. Section 4(4), 1967 Act.

9. Section 16A(5), 1908 Act, as amended in Madras.

10. Section 9, 1967 Act.

11. Rule 3, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Rules, 1968, as amended upto 1970.

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