Thursday 24th Jan 2019
Radiance Views Weekly
You are here: Home »  Cover Story
Text size: A | A

DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them

Cover Story

MOHAMMAD NAUSHAD KHAN reports how the misuse rather abuse of draconian laws like UAPA, MCOCA and AFSPA has compelled the Welfare Party of India and Association for Protection of Civil Rights to launch a nationwide campaign against it.

In this Section

The Welfare Party of India, in co-ordination with Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), organised a convention at Indian Law Institute, New Delhi on 14 April seeking to repeal draconian laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1999 (MCOCA), and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and to chalk out strategy for a systematic campaign against misuse of these laws so that the rights of vulnerable sections of the society are defended in an effective manner.

The basic objective of this convention was to make people aware of the nature of UAPA, MCOCA and AFSPA and how they have been misused rather abused and also to discuss the possible ways to get it stopped forthwith.

In the first session, descriptive views on these laws were presented by various speakers who are in fact authorities in their respective fields. Mr. Ravi Nair, Executive Director, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, while speaking on the occasion, said that UAPA in its present avatar is problematic, and what was considered to be a short-term legislation has been made a permanent law of the land. All the draconian provisions of TADA and POTA have been incorporated in the present UAPA. He also said that behind every legislation works authoritarian mindset of the bureaucracy rather palpably. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during UPA-I, had talked about reforms in the bureaucracy but nothing much has been done so far in that direction. Nair also expressed that it is not enough to say sorry after every acquittal of an innocent person or to give out some compensation. What is important here is that the right to compensate has to be revisited and guilty officials are punished.       

The impression emerged in the convention is that these draconian laws have been used selectively against minorities, Dalits, and other weaker sections of the society. And all those vulnerable sections of the society haves to come forward and jointly fight against misuse of these laws. Justice A. M. Ahmadi, former Chief Justice of India, who presided over the first session, said efforts should be made to incorporate unbiased legislations. He also expressed concern that these days secular voice has disappeared. He said these laws are called draconian because they are against humanity and certain provisions in these laws are certainly not in conformity of the Constitution. He also questioned the double standard in the use of law against hate speech made by Owaisi and Togadia.    

Earlier, various Muslim organisations had raised a question mark over the provisions of the UAPA which has increased the limit of ban on an organisation from two to five years. Ashok Agarwal, Advocate, who is also a lawyer for SIMI, said that the ban limit which has been extended to five years from the earlier two years is of no meaning because the ban can be extended from time to time as we have seen in the case of ban on SIMI.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) operates mainly in the border areas that are declared as disturbed areas and on many occasions it has been thought to be removed from these areas as people are relentlessly protesting against it. Prof. Ujwal Kumar Singh of Delhi University, while addressing the gathering, said that if the parameters adopted in imposing AFSPA are considered disturbed areas then why it has not been applied in places like Chhattisgarh and Naxal-affected areas and why only in Jammu and Kashmir and some states in the Northeast. The first session was co-ordinated by PC Hamza, vice president, WPI.           

 

In the second session, a panel discussion was held on “Defending Freedoms: Approaches and Strategies,” which was presided over by Dr Zafar-ul Islam Khan, president, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and Editor Milli Gazette. In this session, N D Pancholi, President, PUCL Delhi; Ravi Nair, Executive Director, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre; Advocates Sartaj Geelani, Mohd Shoeb, Satinder Singh and Salar M. Khan expressed their views and shared problems faced by them during their practice in terror cases and illegal detention of Muslim youth.

The panellists also discussed the line of action and strategy needed for campaign against misuse of these laws and to ensure that the rights of the people are not encroached upon. It was also decided that a systematic campaign is required in this case as it was seen in getting TADA repealed. In order to defend the rights of people especially the deprived class the need of a body like AIMPLB for lawyers was raised during the question and answer session. The campaign is also aimed at informing and educating people to be vigilant against any misuse of laws and how to defend their rights. Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, General Secretary, Welfare Party of India, said his party will launch a campaign to demand repeal of these draconian laws from the government and urged the people to jointly raise their voice against misuse of these laws so that the law can be repealed at the earliest.    

Dr. Taslim Rehmani, president, Muslim Political Council, expressed concern that even if these laws get repealed, can it be assured that the law that will replace it will not be as draconian as the present one. The demand to make human rights an election issue in the coming general elections was also made. Suhail K.K. of Human Welfare Foundation, while citing recent findings of a survey, asked the party to fight elections on issues like education and illegal detention. Speakers also demanded to raise the issue at international forums like the United Nations. The need for India to become an Institutional Democracy was also felt.



Top
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign  to Repeal Them
Vol. LI No.4, 2013-04-28
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
ISLAMISTS UNDER FIRE 
From Egypt to Bangladesh
Vol. LI No.20, 2013-08-18
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Political Implications of Ban on Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
Vol. LI No.19, 2013-08-11
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Egypt's Al-Sisi Dragged the Country into Civil War
Vol. LI No.18, 2013-08-04
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
The Scourge of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
Vol. L No.43, 2013-01-20
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Arab Spring: Promises and Challenges
Vol. L No.21, 2012-08-19
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Just World Order
Vol. XLIX No.43, 2012-01-29
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Let Us Refuse to Be Provoked
Vol. L No.27, 2012-09-30
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
The Islamists and Western Blinkers
Vol. L No.15, 2012-07-08
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Death, Disappearance and Despair in India
Vol. L No.13, 2012-06-24
DRACONIAN LAWS WPI, APCR Plan Nationwide Campaign to Repeal Them
Subscribe 
 
Focus Issue
 Enter your Email:
Submit