Govt manages to push through NIA Act amendment bill in Lok Sabha
16 July 2019
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Investigative Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which proposes to empower NIA to investigate terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, after a detailed discussion and a spirited defence by union minister for home affairs Amit Shah.
Replying to the debate on the bill to give powers to NIA to investigate terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, in the Lok Sabha, the home minister said a strong NIA is needed to strengthen the legal framework against terrorism. He said that conviction has been achieved in 90 per cent of the cases decided so far, which is one of the finest records in the world. Shah hailed the NIA for its achievements and said a NIA needs powers to deal with cases of terrorism in the country and outside.
The home minister allayed opposition's apprehensions on misuse of agencies and said that the government stands by rule of law and that all investigative agencies follow the procedure established by law. He reassured the House that the agency would not be misused in any way by the government.
Shah said that the earlier Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) should not have been removed in the first place, as the aftermath showed a rise in acts of terror. This has been corroborated by Indian security agencies as well, he added. The home minister also questioned why the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast were allowed to walk free even when American agencies found their involvement in the act of terror.
Reiterating 'Zero Tolerance' policy of the government against terrorism, Shah said "Terrorism is Terrorism, it's neither RIGHT nor LEFT. Perpetrators of terrorist acts need to be punished and will get punished." All political parties, members of Parliament and the government must come together to fight terror without pointing fingers at each other, otherwise it would boost the morale of the terrorists.
"We care for the widows of our martyred soldiers, we care for their sacrifices. Thus, it is important to strengthen NIA to investigate terror related crimes and bring justice to these widows," Shah said.
The home minister said that by designating special courts, the cases would be expedited and transfers or delay in appointments of judges would not delay them.
While taking part in the debate on the bill, minister of state for home affairs, G Kishan Reddy, reinforced government's view that state police teams and other agencies should work in coordination with NIA in terror related matters. There would be no encroachment by the centre on the activities of the state machinery, he added.