Armed forces Special Power Act 1958
Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 is an act of parliament of India. That Grant special power to the Indian Armed forces in “disturbed areas” to maintain public order and peace. Armed forces special power act is actually a group of various rights of armed forces in a disturbed area like the right to prohibit and take action against the gathering of five or more than five peoples. The army can arrest any suspect and search premises without any warrant.
Armed forces special power act was first implemented as an ordinance in the backdrop of the Quit India movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942. Then our leaders used the same concept to maintain the public order in a specific disturbed area.
This act came into existence due to increasing violence in the northeastern part of India at that time, which was very difficult for the state government to control. This act was passed on September 11, 1958, was applicable to the Naga Hills part of Assam. In following decades it spread in all the seven sisters.
Another act was passed in 1983 and applicable to Punjab and Chandigarh which was withdrawn in 1997. An act passed in 1990 was applied to Jammu and Kashmir and has been in force since.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THE ACT
1) Governor of the state and central government are empowered to declare as disturbed area.
2). Gives special power to the army to shoot (even kill) any person who violates the law or suspected to violate the law (or people carrying weapons). The only condition is that they have to give warnings before the fire this power of army directly violate the article 21 of “Right to life”.
3). Arrest anyone without a warrant and carry out a search without consent which violates article 22 “Right to liberty”.
4). Prohibit and take action against public gathering which violates the “Right to assembly”.
5). One person is taken into custody he/she has to be handed to the nearest police station.
Prosecution of the officer on duty needs prior permission of the central government.
Is AFSPA a Necessary Evil ?
No doubt that killing and human rights violations have occurred due to AFSPA. But the problems posed by an array of internal and external agents necessitates an act with teeth to deal with them but its Necessary to prevent
1) Terrorist activities
2) Any such activities that might disrupt the sovereignty of India
3) Cause insult to the national Flag, anthem or Indian constitution.
4) Naxalism activities
Some changes made in AFSPA on 1998
1) The central government is empowered to declare an area disturbed but with the consultant of state Government
2) The act is not conferring any arbitrary power to declare an area as a disturbed area.
3) Should be for a limited duration and periodic review at 6 months.
4) Minimal forces necessary for effective action.
5) Officers should strictly follow do’s and don’t issued by the army.
Areas that come under AFSPA
Assam was the first state to have AFSPA on 11 September 1958 but Currently, entire state except Guwahati municipal area is under AFSPA Disturbance by The United Liberation Front (ULF).
In a belt adjacent to the 20km boundary with Assam but withdrawn in 2018.
In 3 districts (Tirap, changing and longing) and belt adjacent to the 20km boundary with Assam.
The condition of the Mizoram is vague and unclear, Act not been applied since 1986 when the Mizoo accord was signed. The sweeping law in Mizoram.
The act was in force in Nagaland areas even before the state came under into existence in 1961
Because of Naga Hills which was in Assam at that time.
The whole of Manipur except in Imphal municipal area.
Since 1997 and in 2015 it was withdrawn.
Jammu & Kashmir
AFSPA applied on jammu & Kashmir on 1990.
Report: Kumar Amit