Police to review UAPA cases

The State police on Saturday said it will review hitherto uncharged cases registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Kerala.

The terse statement was apparently prompted by widespread criticism that the police had mindlessly applied the hard provisions of the law against writers, human rights activists, free thinkers, and cinema enthusiasts who sported contrary political views.

Public outcry

The ensuing public outcry, triggered by what was perceived as unjust penal action against ordinary citizens, had prompted the ruling front and Opposition politicians to harshly censure the State police.

The police communication in the wake of the public reprimand was short on details.

It only said that UAPA cases would be reviewed at the police headquarters. A panel of legal experts would help the reviewers. The police would examine whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspects in the cases under the provisions of the UAPA.

The stringent law denied suspects the advantage of bail. It was also widely viewed as draconian and vulnerable to misuse by the State.

Top police officers were unwilling to hazard a guess on the number or the nature of the cases that would come up for evaluation.

They were also not clear about the review process, given the sensitive nature of UAPA cases.

Officials hinted that at least a few UAPA cases registered in Kerala had a complex bearing on national security, particularly so when viewed through the lens of global terrorism.

The police assured that the evaluation process would be absolutely fair. Those arraigned as accused in the cases would be accorded an opportunity to state their position.

Several of the UAPA cases tagged for re-examination were registered during the tenure of the previous government.

The furore over the alleged misuse of the UAPA and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act had rocked the government in the past few days.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself had reportedly drawn sharp disapproval from within his own party and the Left Democratic Front for “failing to curb” the questionable actions of the police in this regard.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 4:37:38 PM |

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