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

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Law Commission's View of Terrorism

Indians have increasingly put their faith in courts of law and judges as politicians and bureaucrats repeatedly disappointed them. But the Law Commission's recommendations on the proposed anti-terrorism bill give one pause. The commission has brought back some of the more objectionable provisions and added a couple of irrelevancies of its own.

An anti-terrorist law will soon be back, whether we like it or not, and one might as well open up a public discussion that may help soften it a bit. One wishes one could say we might even persuade the government to give it up, but that is without doubt a pipe dream. A ‘human face’ is all the humanity that is promised us these days and we are not allowed to expect more. The promise accompanies threats of globalisation, and it accompanies the Law Commission’s approval of the proposed anti-terrorist law. Ours, it appears, is a determinedly inhuman society that promises a human visage on all fronts. All hopes and aspirations are expected to be pegged on it.

To recall some history, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) came into being in 1985. It had a built-in provision of lapse at the end of two years unless extended by parliament. It was extended with amendments in 1987, and again once every two years (with some further amendments to take care of observations made by the Supreme Court on various occasions) until 1995 in which year parliament, in response to strong public criticism, let it lapse, even though a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, in Kartar Singh vs State (1994), had upheld the constitutionality of the act as it stood by the time it was extended last in 1993.

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