ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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January 25, union home minister Buta Singh attributed the sharply increased level of violence in Punjab in the new year to two factors. First, according to Buta Singh, the Punjab-Haryana High Court had ordered the release of 700-800 'terrorists' and stayed the operation of certain portions of the Anti-Terrorist Act which meant that "terrorists who were rounded up after great difficulty" had to be freed under court orders and their rearrest was proving difficult. Secondly, the home minister alleged that the terrorists were getting encouragement from the United Akali Dal which "was saying everything except asking for Khalistan", The Punjab-Haryana High Court had struck down clauses 16(1), 20(4) and 20(8)(b) of the Anti-Terrorist and Disrup- tionist Activities Act, 1985, in October last year. Section 16(1) was held ultra vires because it gave no descretion to the court but to hold trials under this act in camera. Section 20(4)(a) was struck down because it permitted the police to produce an arrested person before an executive magistrate. The court held that this violated the constitutional mandate of separation of the judiciary from the executive. Under section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code an arrested person has to be brought before a judicial magistrate within 24 hours. Finally, Section 20(8) (b) relating to bail was held ultra vires because it imposed unreasonable conditions for granting of bail.

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