Armed Forces Special Power Act,1958

Armed forces Special Power Act,1958


Armed Forces Special Power Act is a act of parliament of India. That Grant special power to the Indian Armed forces in “disturbed areas”.

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.

Armed Forces Special Power Act

Another act was passed in 1983 and applicable to Punjab and Chandigarh which was withdrawn in 1997.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.


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.
3) Arrest anyone without a warrant and carry out a search without consent.
4) One person is taken into custody he/she has to be handed to the nearest police station.
5) Prosecution of the officer on duty needs prior permission of the central government.

Armed Forces Special Power Act

Why the act is 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.

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) Naxalite activities

Criticism of AFSPA

It has been a subject of intense criticism by the civil society,intellectual and human rights organizations.

Armed Forces Special Power Act

There have been many rape case, torture etc. Eg: the case of Manorama device(34) Manipur rape and murdered by Assam rifle. Justice is still areared.

No review of the disturbed area.
Power to shoot and search without warrant is in contravention of article 21.

1998 verdict of the supreme court in Naga people movement case

The validity of law was challenged in the supreme court. In 1998 judgement in the “Naga people movement of human rights” the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

Some changes made in 1998

1) Central government is empowered to declare an area disturbed but with the consultant of state government

2) 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.

Armed Forces Special Power Act

Current areas that come under AFSPA


The first state to have AFSPA in 11/09/1958
Current act is in force since Nov 1990
Currently entire state except Guwahati municipal area is under AFSPA
Disturbance by ULFA’s


In a belt adjacent to the 20km boundary with Assam


In 3 districts (Tirap, changing and longing) and belt adjacent to the 20km boundary with Assam.


The condition of the actin Mizoram is vague and unclear
Act not been applied since 1986 when theMizoo 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.

Report: Kumar Amit

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