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Report No. 173

Report on Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2000

Chapter I

Introductory

The Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs requested the Law Commission to undertake a fresh examination of the issue of a suitable legislation for combating terrorism and other anti-national activities in view of the fact that security environment has changed drastically since 1972 when the Law Commission had sent its 43rd Report on Offences against the National Security. The government emphasised that the subject was of utmost urgency in view of the fact that while the erstwhile Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 had lapsed, no other law had been enacted to fill the vacuum arising therefrom. The result is that today there is no law to combat terrorism in India.

The Commission was asked to take a holistic view on the need for a comprehensive anti-terrorism law in India after taking into consideration similar legislations enacted in other countries faced with the problem of terrorism. Accordingly, the Commission had taken up the study of the subject and prepared a Working Paper (Annexure I) which was circulated to all the concerned authorities, organisations and individuals for eliciting their views with respect to the proposals contained therein. Two seminars were also held for this purpose. The first seminar was held on December 20, 1999 at the India International Centre, New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Shri Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of India and presently the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.

The following persons spoke at the said seminar: Shri P.P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Brig. Satbir Singh, Senior Fellow and OSD in Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, Prof. V.S. Mani, Jawarharlal Nehru University and Secretary-General, the Indian Society of International Law, Shri K.T.S. Tulsi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and former Additional Solicitor General, Shri D.R. Karthikeyan, former Director, CBI and presently holding the post of DG(Investigations), National Human Rights Commission, Shri Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court and an activist in human rights field, Prof. B.B. Pandey of Delhi University, Shri P.S. Rao, Legal Adviser, Legal and Treaties Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Shri K.P.S. Gill, former DGP, Punjab, Shri Ravi Nair from South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and an activist in the human rights field, Shri Shiv Basant and Dr. P.K. Agarwal, Joint Secretaries in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri B.A. Agrawal, Joint Secretary and Legal Adviser, Ministry of Law, Justice & Co. Affairs, Shri S.V. Singh, Additional DGP Crime, Punjab, Shri S.S. Puri, Additional DGP(L&O), Maharashtra, Shri M.L. Sharma, Joint Director, CBI, Shri N. Kumar, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri Justice Rajinder Sachhar, Senior Advocate and former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court.

The Commission made a note of the points made by all the above speakers. Shri Tulsi has also sent his comments in writing. The Addl. DGP, CID, Assam has sent his comments in writing. Amnesty International has also sent a communication in this behalf dated December 18, 1999. Though the said organisation said in this letter that they would be sending a detailed response later, the Commission has not so far received any such detailed comments. A second seminar was held on January 29, 2000 in association with the India International Centre in the auditorium of India International Centre.

The following persons spoke at this seminar: Shri N.N. Vohra, former Home Secretary and Director of the India International Centre (who co-chaired the seminar), Shri R.K. Khandelwal, former Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee, Shri Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri P.K. Dave, former Lt. Governor of Delhi, Shri S.K. Singh, former Foreign Secretary, Ms. Maja Daruwalla, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri, Lt.Gen. Raghavan, Shri P.N. Lekhi, Senior Advocate, Delhi High Court, Shri D.R. Karthikeyan, DG(Investigations), NHRC, Shri U.R. Lalit, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri Ashok Bhan, Advocate (Kashmiri Pandit - migrant), Shri K.P.S. Gill, former DGP, Punjab, Shri P.P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court,
Dr. Ajit Muzoomdar, IAS(Retd.), Shri Sushil Kumar, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri P.S. Rao, Joint Secretary, Legal and Treaties Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Brig. Satbir Singh, Senior Fellow and OSD in the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis and Shri Ravi Nair from the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre. (On account of paucity of time, several other participants could not speak on this occasion.) Shri H.D. Shourie, Director, "Common Cause", sent his written comments since he could not attend the seminar personally. Other persons who sent written comments include the following:

Dr. M.L. Chibber, General(Retd.), Shri L. David, IPS, Assam, Shri K.T.S. Tulsi, Senior Advocate, Shri Rakesh Shukla, Secretary, Peoples' Union for Democratic Rights, Shri K.G. Kannibaran, President, PUCL, Shri Tapan Bose, Secretary General, South-East Forum for Human Rights, Shri D.R. Karthikeyan, Director General, NHRC and Shri A.K. Srivastava, Judge Advocate General's Branch. Later, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre also sent a written representation. The Commission has taken note of several points made by the above speakers. After taking into consideration the several opinions expressed in these two seminars and the responses received, the present report has been prepared.



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