July 15, 2019
Kalyan Banerjee speaks on The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill,2019
Before I go into the merits of the Bill, I have a general question or appeal. When India is attacked (and India is the worst sufferer of terrorism in the world), we don’t find other countries speaking so much but when in USA, the Twin Towers were attacked, all the countries of the world made a hue and cry. Why can’t we bring the extreme terrorist activities that are being perpetrated every year to the attention of the entire world? Is it the result of any failure on our part? That is the question.
Sir, The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 was brought into effect with this object: ‘For the last several years, there have been innumerable incidents of terrorist attacks not only in militancy and insurgency-affected areas and areas affected by Left Wing Extremism, but also in the form of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts, etc. in various parts of the hinterland and in major cities. A large number of such incidents are found to have complex inter-State and international linkages.’
Sir, through you, I bring to the attention of the Hon’ble Minister the expression ‘inter-State and international linkages’. The question is, whether through any of the clauses in the amendment which has been brought, it is being diluted and whether through any of the clauses, you are trying to take away the power of law and order from the States. I will address this aspect later on.
Firstly I would say that correctly the amendment has been brought in clause 2 that ‘in clause (c), after the words “may be”, the word “and” shall be inserted’.
This Act shall be called The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. Since the Honourable Home Minister is here, through you, Sir, I shall need a few clarifications.
In clause 2(iii)(d), it has been said, ‘to persons who commit a Scheduled Offence beyond India against the Indian citizens or affecting the interest of India’. Then you come to clause 4: ‘In section 3 of the principal Act, in sub-section (2), after the word “India”, the words “and, subject to any international treaty or domestic law of the concerned country, outside India,” shall be inserted.’ Therefore, your object is, if any terrorist activity is being committed by any person from outside the country, the Act gives you the power to proceed against the person.
But, when you come to Clause 4 then it subjects to any international treaty or domestic law of the concerned country. Whether really it will achieve your objective? Is there any treaty with Pakistan? This country suffers from terrorism and terrorist activities. If you do not have any treaty how will this Act be applicable to Pakistan? The country where the treaty is not there then this clause has no application. It will remain in the book of statutes only. If the treaty is not there then you can’t make it . If a treaty is not there, it will be futile. This is a point that needs to be addressed and since the Hon’ble Home Minister is there I am sure that he will clarify this point.
Sir, the question is, speedy trial. Objective is speedy trial. I have a humble suggestion, through you, to the Hon’ble Home Minister, to kindly fix up the time in the statute. I know it will not be mandatory but I am suggesting to also make a clause on it. If time is extended then the special judge will give reasons as to why time is being extended. Then he will have an accountability. Since you are extending my time after retirement or after transfer he will remain with fine and will not finish the trial, that will also not be accepted. Therefore he should give the reason.
Sir, we want to know how many terrorists, since the inception of the 2008 Act, up to 2019, have been hauled up. Sir, as far as the designated Special Judge is concerned, the question is whether you are creating a post for the special judge or, you are empowering the present Sessions Judge with that power? If you are empowering the Sessions Judge with that power, then it will not be helpful, because the Sessions Judge is already overburdened with cases; he can not do it.
If you create Special Judges Court, appointment following the creation of the post is also necessary. If posts are created, only in that case, it can be helpful. If the post is not created, it will not be helpful. The Hon’ble MoS was referring to women’s trafficking. I have read the object; if it is inter-state, if it is international, then in case of women’s trafficking, you can apply your power. No difficulties. But, it is only within the State itself. Then, if you interchange, then you are interfering with the State’s power, then you are hitting the federalism itself.
Mr. Satya Pal Ji said that this Act should not be misused. I support that. This Act should not be misused. You are referring to the West Bengal case. There the Central Government report is that, the West Bengal Government has made extensive cooperation in the matter. This is on record, so far the Burdwan Blast Case is concerned. Therefore, this Act, under no circumstances, should be misused, abused for achieving any political gain, no matter which political party is in power. Power will not remain with any party forever. Someone comes, someone goes.
I have one suggestion, I am very constructive. Since the Hon’ble Home Minister is there, I will request you so far these cases are concerned, when you are appointing special designated judges, kindly consider also for the appointment of the special public prosecutors who will be having much knowledge on the subject. This is very important. For a cyber crime, a prosecutor is needed who understands the cyber laws. This is lacking, and has to be fulfilled.