NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha on Thursday saw a heated debate over the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill as many opposition members raised concerns over the possibility of the stringent provisions being misused, especially to target people critical of the government if the legislation is enacted.
Minister of State (MoS) Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy introduced the Bill in the Upper House. One of the key amendments to the 1967 Act is that the government may designate individuals as terrorists.
Speaking during the debate, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said every member in the House is against terrorism and is ready to support the government if the Bill is sent to select committee for scrutiny. Otherwise, chances are that the Bill would be challenged in court and struck down, he said.
“We are not against the Bill, but how will you label a person ‘terrorist’? It is not clear in the Bill. We have lost two prime ministers and one chief minister to terrorism... Still, we know that we should not misuse such laws,” said Sibal.
Calling the Bill undemocratic, MDMK’s Vaiko alleged that laws like POTA, TADA and sedition have been misused by various governments in the past.
Questioning the need for the amendments, Trinamool’s Sukhendu Shekhar Ray said the new law would be used to target people who are critical of the government.
The discussions on the Bill would continue on Friday.
President nod to triple talaq bill
President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Triple Talaq Bill earlier passed by the Parliament turning it into a law.
This makes the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence, said a government notification published on Wednesday.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes it illegal to pronounce talaq thrice in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat at one go.
The Opposition said the proposed law in its current form could be misused to harass Muslims.