In yet another victory for the Narendra Modi government in the Rajya Sabha, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 that allows the Centre to designate an individual as a 'terrorist' on suspected terror links, was passed by the Upper House on Friday. 147 votes for in favour of the government, whereas 42 lawmakers voted against the anti-terror bill. The Bill was passed a day after it was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the director general of police (DGP) to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. The Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the director general of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
The Upper House also rejected the Opposition-sponsored motion to send the amendment to select committee with 104 votes against it as compared to 85 in favour. The House passed the amendment to the law with 147 votes in favour and 42 against it. Replying to a debate on the amendment, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said a four-level scrutiny has been provided in the amendment and no human rights will be violated. He said declaring individuals as terrorists is required as they float different organisations once an institution is banned. The amendment will expedite prosecution in terror cases, he added. Terrorism has no religion, terrorists are against humanity, he further said seeking support of all parties to support stringent laws against terrorism.
During the debate, senior Congress leader former Union Minister P Chidambaram said that the government cannot compare a Hafiz Saeed to activist Gautam Navlakha. "It is not the freedom of organisation we are talking about it is the liberty of the individual. If we pass this, institutional conscience will prevail and this (law) will be struck down," Chidambaram said.