Explained: Changes in NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NIA and its mandate

Mains level : Impact of the proposed amendments



News

  • Recently Lok Sabha has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 after a heated debate in the House.
  • It is a move to foster ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy towards terrorism and other crimes.

About NIA

  • NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realized.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
  • The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008 Headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The conviction rate of this anti-terrorism agency is currently 95 per cent as it has managed to convict 167 accused in the 185 cases registered by it since its inception.

What are changes introduced in the NIA (Amendment) Bill?

There are three major amendments to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008:

I. Type of offences

  • Under the existing Act, the NIA can investigate offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
  • The latest amendments will enable the NIA to additionally investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

II. NIA’s jurisdiction

  • Under the Act, for the offences under its purview, NIA officers have the same power as other police officers and these extend across the country.
  • The Bill amends this to give NIA officers the power to investigate offences committed outside India.
  • Of course, NIA’s jurisdiction will be subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.

III. Special trial courts

  • The amendment seeks for special trials courts for the offences that come under NIA’s purview or the so-called “scheduled offences”.
  • The existing Act allows the Centre to constitute special courts for NIA’s trials.
  • But the Bill enables the Central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for such trials.
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