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What is National Security Act

National Security Act (NSA)

About National Security Act (NSA)

What is National Security Act

The National Security Act is an act that empowers the government to detain a person if the authorities are satisfied that he/she is a threat to national security or to prevent him/her from disrupting public order.
Key points under National Security Act are:
1. The act allows preventive detention for months
2. States or Centre can detain a people from acting in manner prejudicial to India's security
3. A person can be detained if he/she is a threat to India's relations with foreign countries
4. The Act is invoked to maintain public law and order
5. It empowers the government to detain foreigners and regulate his/her presence or expel him/her from India
6. The provisions in the Act are is re-notified every quarter
When did NSA come into existence and who introduced it?
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi brought the National Security Act in on 23 September, 1980.
What is the maximum period of detention under National Security Act
A person can be detained for up to 12 months without a charge. A person can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them. The person can appeal before a high court advisory board but will not be allowed a lawyer during the trial.
How did National Security Act come about?  
The NSA Act 1980 has its roots in the colonial era. In 1818, Bengal Regulation III was enacted to empower the British government to arrest anyone for maintenance of public order without giving the person recourse to judicial proceedings. In 1919, the Rowlatt Act allowed confinement without a trial. The Jallianwalla Bagh tragedy was a direct result of the protest against these Rowlatt Act.
Post-independence, Indira Gandhi introduced the controversial Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in 1971, which was similar to the Rowlatt Act. It was repealed in 1977, and eventually the National Security Act (NSA) 1980 was promulgated.
Why does NSA Act matter?
Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution says an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice. According to Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC), any person arrested has to be informed of the grounds of arrest and has the right to bail.
However, under National Security Act, none of these rights are available to the person detained. The government holds the right to conceal information which it considers to be against public interest to disclose.
The detained person is not entitled to any legal aid.
Moreover, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which collects crime data in India, does not include cases under the NSA as no FIRs are registered.
Criticisms against the National Security Act
For years, the NSA has been in news for all the wrong reasons. NSA has come under wide criticism for its misuse by the authorities. Experts describe the validity of the Act even during peacetime as 'anachronism'.
A section also points to the fact that the governments use NSA as an extra-judicial power.
Most recent use of the National Security Act
On January 17, 2020, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi passed a order conferring the Commissioner of Police with the power to detain under NSA for a period of three months — between 19 January and 18 April. The order came at a time when the national capital was witnessing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC)
In January 2019, the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh arrested three persons under NSA in connection with an alleged cow-slaughter case.
In November 2018, Manipur journalist Kishore Chandra Wangkhem was detained for 12 months under the NSA for a Facebook post against the chief minister.

Latest Updates on National Security Act (NSA)

Madhya Pradesh illicit liquor trade: NSA invoked against 6 in Bhopal

1 min read Last Updated :Jan 23 2021 | 10:01 PM IST
SC may hear plea against imposition of National Security Act on Friday

2 min read Last Updated :Jan 24 2020 | 6:37 PM IST