The Rajya Sabha passed a legislation to strengthen anti-terror agency National Investigation Agency (NIA) through a voice vote on Wednesday , two days after it was approved by the Lok Sabha amid objections by the Opposition.
As many as 278 lawmakers had voted in support of the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill in the lower house on Monday, and just six had opposed it.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Congress lawmaker Manish Tewari expressing reservations over granting the anti-terror agency such "over-arching" powers. The legislation, first introduced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 8, aims to empower the anti-terror agency to investigate scheduled offences such as human trafficking; circulation of fake currency; manufacture and sale of prohibited arms; and cyber-terrorism. It also allows for the creation of special courts to adjudicate such crimes.
Besides this, the bill seeks to provide the NIA with jurisdiction over scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and the domestic laws of other countries. A special court in New Delhi will preside over such cases.
Home Minister Amit Shah had sought the support of all the members of the Lok Sabha irrespective of political affiliation during the discussion that preceded voting on the bill, claiming that a division in the house would send out a "wrong message" and "boost the morale" of terrorists.
The NIA was set up in 2009 by the then United Progressive Alliance government after the Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed 166 lives.