Focus: GS-II Governance, Prelims
Why in news?
The stringent National Security Act (NSA) will be slapped on people who attack policeman enforcing the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government said on 3rd April 2020.
Why such a move?
- The state government’s move to invoke the NSA comes in view of reports of several incidents of attack on policemen enforcing the lockdown.
- The move is aimed to deter those who are taking lockdown lightly and even attacking policemen when they are prevented.
National Security Act (NSA)
The National Security Act of 1980 is an act of the Indian Parliament promulgated on 23 September, 1980.
The purpose of this act is “to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith”.
The act extends to the whole of India.
This act empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of India, the relations of India with foreign countries, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do.
The act also gives power to the governments to detain a foreigner in a view to regulate his presence or expel from the country.
The act was passed in 1980 during the Indira Gandhi Government.
How did it come about?
- Preventive detention laws in India date back to early days of the colonial era when the Bengal Regulation III of 1818 was enacted to empower the government to arrest anyone for defence or maintenance of public order without giving the person recourse to judicial proceedings.
- A century later, the British government enacted the Rowlatt Acts of 1919 that allowed confinement of a suspect without trial.
- Post-independence India got its first preventive detention rule when the government of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru enacted the Preventive Detention Act of 1950.
- The NSA is a close iteration of the 1950 Act. After the Preventive Detention Act expired on December 31, 1969, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, brought in the controversial Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in 1971 giving similar powers to the government.
- Though the MISA was repealed in 1977 after the Janata Party came to power, the successive government, led by Mrs. Gandhi, brought in the NSA.