Ground Report | New Delhi: UAPA case; Many political prisoners and students are still in jail under the stringent UAPA law like Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Gulfisha Fatima, Khalid Saifi, etc. 15 others are in jail without trial in the Bhima Koregaon case. The Act is designed in such a way that it leaves little room for judicial argument and makes it almost impossible to get bail.
Notably, as per the data provided by the government in Parliament, there has been a 72% increase in the number of persons arrested under UAPA in 2019 as compared to 2015.
The highest number of arrests made under the UAPA in 20219 were in Uttar pradesh at 478. Following Manipur recorded the maximum number of cases in 2019 at 306. It was followed by Tamil Nadu (270), Jammu and Kashmir (255), Jharkhand (105) and Assam (87). However, in 2019, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of arrests under UAPA at 498. It was followed by Manipur (386), Tamil Nadu (308), Jammu and Kashmir (227) and Jharkhand (202).
The UAPA and sedition have been weaponized and used regularly against critics of various ruling governments. UAPA cases were registered in 2019, an increase of 33% from 2016. 96% of sedition cases against 405 Indians were registered in the last decade after criticizing political leaders and the Modi government in power in the last decade, Article 14 reported.
In Uttar Pradesh, 23 people were arrested under the actin 2015, in 2016 the figure dropped to 15 as the BJP formed the government in March 2017, the number of arrests increased to 382 that year, according to the government data.
Recently in Jammu and Kashmir, a minor child was caught by the Jammu and Kashmir Police under the UAPA for allegedly raising “anti-national” slogans during the last rites of a man who was killed in a road accident in May.
However, in the last five years, Kerala Police has largely instigated the UAPA. Thought to have registered 145 UAPA cases in the state between May 15, 2016, and May 19, 2021, the state police sought permission from the government for prosecution sanction for eight cases and obtained sanction for three.
According to the Centre’s data given to Parliament, less than 2% of people arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) across the country in the five years till 2019 were convicted. Moreover, out of 7,840 people arrested on terrorism charges, only 155 were convicted by lower courts.
Six states, including Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam, accounted for nearly 87 percent of arrests made under the controversial Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the five years since 2015, according to an analysis.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court against the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 (UAPA), seeking a direction to declare it unconstitutional.
The petition has been filed by Sajal Awasthi, who claims to be a heinous-spirited man and a Good Samaritan. He alleged that the UAPA Act is against the basic fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India.