Report No. 250
64. Punjab Disturbed Areas Act, Act 32 of 1983
Category: Criminal Justice
Recommendation: Consider for repeal.
This Act provided for the suppression of disorder and for the restoration and maintenance of public order in the disturbed areas of Punjab. The Act empowered the State Government to declare the whole or any part of any district of Punjab as a disturbed area. This Act was enacted as a direct response to the rise of militancy in Punjab during the 1980s and gives extensive powers to police officers to use force in order to maintain peace and order.
By virtue of a notification dated 16th November 1996, the whole State of Punjab was declared a disturbed area for a period of six months, i.e., from 18th November 1996 to 17th May 1997. Also, by a notification dated 9th March 1989, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur were declared as disturbed areas. However, this notification was withdrawn on 28th July 2008.
Prima facie, there are no areas declared as disturbed in the State of Punjab and the need for this Act has been dispensed with. The Central Government should write to the Government of Punjab to ascertain the status of the Act and also, if any areas are still declared as disturbed areas within the State. This Act has been recommended for repeal by the PC Jain Commission Report (Appendix A-1).