After 12 years of confinement, the Delhi High Court has granted bail to an undertrial prisoner accused of being a part of the 2008 Mumbai blasts and arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), which regulates unlawful and terrorist activities. The Court said that the prisoner’s right to a speedy trial was violated.
What is an unlawful activity?
The UAPA aims to effectively prevent certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations, and also deals with terrorist activities.
An unlawful activity can include:
- Any action which is done to bring about the surrender of Indian territory.
- Any action that supports the withdrawal of a part of Indian territory from the larger Union of India.
- Actions that question or disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.
- Any action which causes (or wants to cause) discontent against India.
What is the punishment for doing an unlawful activity?
The UAPA punishes anyone who takes part in unlawful activities, or who assists in committing such unlawful activities. If you carry out any unlawful activity, you can be punished with imprisonment for up to seven years, and a fine.
What is a terrorist activity?
A terrorist act is any act done with the intention to threaten India’s unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty, or to terrorise people in India or any foreign country.
What are the punishments for terrorist activities under UAPA?
|Terrorist Activities||If it results in death: The punishment is life imprisonment, and a fine.
In any other case: The punishment is jail time between 5 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.
|Organising Terrorist Camps||The punishment is jail time between 5 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.|
|Conspiracy||The punishment is jail time between 5 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.|
|Recruiting any Person(s) for Terrorist Activities||The punishment is jail time between 5 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.|
|Harbouring a Terrorist||The punishment is jail time between 3 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.|
|Being a Member of Terrorist Gang||The punishment is life imprisonment, and a fine.|
|Holding Proceeds of Terrorism||The punishment is life imprisonment, and a fine.|
|Threatening Witness||The punishment is jail time between 3 years and life imprisonment along with a fine.|
Can you get bail if you are arrested under the UAPA law?
Special laws like the UAPA have additional conditions for an accused person to get bail.
The UAPA has special bail conditions for a person accused of being involved in a terrorist activity or involved with a terrorist organisation. In such cases, the person cannot get bail unless the government’s lawyer has heard the bail application of the person asking to be released. Further, a person accused of terrorist involvement cannot get bail if the court thinks that there is a reasonable possibility that they actually committed the offence that they have been accused of.
If a UAPA offence is committed by a person who is not an Indian citizen, or a person who has entered India illegally, the court will not give bail. Such a person can get bail only in very exceptional circumstances and the court has to record the reasons for granting bail.