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

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Laws without Accountability

Will the new anti-terror laws aid the fight against terror or be abused by the police?

When Parliament resumed its sitting in December, the two principal political formations had just fought each other to a stalemate in five state assembly elections. The BJP’s effort to milk the Mumbai tragedies for electoral advantage had conspicuously failed. And Parliament taking the signal that it needed to get over the partisan rancour that normally follows every terrorist strike, acted with alacrity to enact two pieces of legislation, which in one form or the other have been demands of the opposition.

Heightened public concern about terrorism ensured that the sensibilities of the states, which enjoy exclusive jurisdiction over law and order under the constitutional division of powers, would not be an impediment. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) that will be created under the new laws will have an intrusive jurisdiction into law and order matters all over. And when all the self-congratulation is done, it needs to be asked whether it would improve efficiencies in investigation and lend a sense of purpose to the prosecutorial process, or merely add another layer of complexity to a muddled bureaucratic apparatus.

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