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Lok Sabha passes bill on 'terrorist act' amid opposition

Source: PTI
November 30, 2012 17:51 IST
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The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a bill that seeks to expand the definition of 'terrorist act' to include offences that threaten the country's economic security, amid protests from some members who termed the measures as 'draconian'.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, which was passed by voice vote, also extends the period of ban on an organisation from two years to five years.

The amendments also seek to include procurement of weapons, raising funds for terrorist activities and counterfeiting Indian currency under the definition of a 'terrorist act'.

Communist Party of India leader Prabodh Panda, Communist Party of India – Marxist leader Saidul Haque and Biju Janata Dal leader Bhratruhari Mahtab sought deferment of the Bill and pressed for a thorough debate.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi opposed the Bill, claiming it was more draconian than the erstwhile Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

Replying to the debate, Shinde assured the House that the government will not misuse provisions of the Act.

He said that when there was an uproar over POTA and TADA, Parliament had repealed the controversial laws.

"This Act is being amended to bring clarity to the existing legal regime and remove deficiencies identified in its implementation by the Central and State intelligence and investigating agencies," Shinde said.

The amendments also state that the definition of terrorist act would also include acts that involve detention, abduction, threats to kill or injure, or other actions so as to compel an international or inter-governmental organisation to comply with some demand.

They also granted additional powers to courts to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the counterfeit Indian currency involved in the offence or to the value of the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence.

The bill inserts new sections to include offences by companies, societies or trusts.

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