Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act
Part of: Prelims and GS-IIl – Internal security
Context After recent killings of Nagaland civilians by 21 Para Commando unit in Nagaland’s Mon district, its Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has called for scrapping of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
What is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)?
- It is a Parliamentary act that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and the state and paramilitary forces in areas classified as “disturbed areas”.
- Objective: To maintain law and order in the disturbed areas
- Section (3) – If the governor of a state issues an official notification in The Gazette of India then the Central government has the authority to deploy armed forces for assisting the civilian authorities.
- Section (4) – Special powers to army officers in disturbed areas to shoot any individual who violates law or is suspected to violate law. The only condition is that the officer has to give a warning before opening fire.
- Security forces can arrest anybody even without a warrant, and carry out searches without consent.
- Once a person is taken into custody, he/she has to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible.
- Prosecution of the officer on duty for alleged violation of human rights requires the prior permission of the Central Government.
Demand for Revocation of AFSPA in the past
- BP Jeevan Reddy committee examining it in relation to the Northeast in 2005, and the Veerappa Moily report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission of 2007, recommended that the Act be repealed.
States and union territories under AFSPA
- Throughout Assam and Nagaland.
- In Manipur with the exception only of the municipal area of Imphal.
- AFSPA has been withdrawn from Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya.
- Operational in some areas of Kashmir valley.