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

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THE National Security Ordinance, 1980, promulgated early this week, fills a lacuna which, as long as it existed, should have h-:d been extremely disturbing to the rulers of this country. The Centre has never been accustomed to carry on the administration of the country without the advantages of having a law providing for preventive detention, and almost the very first thing that the new government did after it assumed office early this year was to formalise the prevention of blackmarketing and maintenance of essential supplies ordinance promulgated by the Charan Singh-headed caretaker government into an, Act. Put that Act was clearly considered inadequate, and the 'Explanation' of Section 3(2) of the present ordinance (which doubtless will in due course become on Act) pointedly makes the distinction : "For the purposes of this sub-section, 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community' does not include 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies of commodities essential to the community' as defined in the explanation to sub-section I of section 3 of the Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980...", the crucial difference being the reference in the NSO to 'essential services'

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