Delhi, 02 Aug 2019: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said the amendment, which gives the government power to designate an individual as a “terrorist”, is unconstitutional and warned that the power can be misused.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, the former union minister said the amendment violates the rights of an individual and if the Bill is passed in the Upper House, the Congress will move the Supreme Court. The Bill was passed nearly an hour after his address in the House. The Lok Sabha had given its nod to the amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA), Bill 2019, on July 29.
“There will be serious repercussions in naming an individual a terrorist... this amendment will be struck down. It is unconstitutional. If this bill is passed then we will move to the building that is a kilometre from here (SC),” he said.
The changes to the UAPA have prompted concerns as the Bill would empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror by listing the name in the official gazette without giving the person a chance to be heard and waiting for a court conviction.
Earlier, the UAPA allowed the government to only proscribe organisations.
Several opposition parties and civil liberties’ lawyers have criticised the amendment and said it can be used to muzzle dissent and crackdown on civil liberties.