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Description Of Charges Filed Against Chairman Meghen

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India. The federal agency chargesheeted Chairman Meghen on December 16, 2010 at Guwahati. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The National Investigation Agency Bill 2008 to create the agency was moved in Parliament by Union Home Minister on 16 December 2008. NIA was created after the Nov 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realized. Some of the law references utilized by NIA, in addition to Indian Penal Code, include the following:

National Investigation Act, 2008

The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 (65 of 1982)

The Atomic Energy Act 1962 (33 of 1962)

The SAARC Convention on (Suppression of Terrorism) Act 1993 (36 of 1993)

The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967)

The Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems Chairman Meghen have been booked by a Special Court of NIA under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as Unwanted Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

He’s been charged under four sections (sections 121, 121A, 120B and 123) of IPC to be read along with five different sections (13, 16, 18, 39 and 40) of the UAPA. Sections 121, 121A and 123 under IPC are related with offences against the Indian state, specifically waging war against the Government of India. Chargesheet under Indian Penal Code: Section 121 of IPC relates with waging war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India. It states, ‘Whoever, wages war against the Government of India, or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with death, or punishment for life and shall also be liable to fine’. Essential ingredients of the section include that a person,

(a) wages war against the Government of India, or

(b) attempts to wage war against the Government of India, or

(c) abets the waging of war against the Government of India

The offence under section 121 is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session Scope of the section is quite wide. It states, ‘Section 121 not only the principal offence (waging war) but also attempt and abetment. Here it is wider than the common law, offence of treason or misprision of treason’. Section 121A of IPC is related conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121. it states, ‘Whoever, within or outside India conspire to commit any of the offences punishable by Section 121, or conspires to overawe, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, the Central Government or any State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of other description which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine’. Under this section, the term ‘to constitute a conspiracy’, it is not necessary that any act or illegal omission shall take place in pursuance thereof. The offence under section 121A is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session. Section 120(B) of IPC relates with punishment of criminal conspiracy. It states:

(1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

(2) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both. Section 123 of IPC relates with concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war.

It states, ‘Whoever by any act, or by any illegal omission conceals the existence of a design to wage war against the Government of India, intending by such concealment to facilitate, or knowing it to be likely that such concealment will facilitate, the waging of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine’. The offence under section 123 is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session. Chargesheet under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act: The UAPA, intended to deal with terrorism, was amended in 2008 following the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. According to the Government of India, the December 2008 amendments balance the need to fight terrorism with the need to protect civil liberties. The amended Act borrows provisions from various (previous) anti-terror laws. Section 13 of UAPA relates with punishment for unlawful activities. It states:

(1) Whoever ‘“ (a) takes part in or commits, or (b) advocates, abets, advises or incites the Commission of, any unlawful activity, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine

(2) Whoever, in any way, assists any unlawful activity of any association, declared unlawful under section 3 (of UAPA), after the notification by which it has been so declared has become effective under subsection (3) of that section, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.

(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to any treaty, agreement or convention entered into between the Government of India and the Government of any other country or to any negotiations therefore carried on by any person authorized in this behalf by the Government of India. Section 16 of UAPA relates with bar of jurisdiction. It states, ‘Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, no proceeding taken under this Act by the Central Government or the District Magistrate or any officer authorized in this behalf by the Central Government or the District Magistrate shall be called in question in any court in any suit or application or by way of appeal or revision, and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act’. Section 18 of UAPA relates protection of action taken in good faith. It states:

(1) No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Government in respect of any loss or damage caused or likely to be caused by anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rules or orders made there-under.

(2) No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the District Magistrate or any officer authorized in this behalf by the Government or the District Magistrate in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rules or orders made thereunder.

Section 39 of UAPA relates with punishment for supporting terrorist organizations. It states:

(1) A person commits the offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization,- (a) who, with intention to further the activity of a terrorist organization,- (i) invites support for the terrorist organization, and (ii) the support is not or is not restricted to provide money or other property within the meaning of section 40; or (b) who, with intention to further the activity of a terrorist organization, arranges, manages or assists in arranging or managing a meeting which he knows is- (i) to support the terrorist organization, or (ii) to further the activity of the terrorist organization, or (iii) to be addressed by a person who associates or professes to be associated with the terrorist organization; or (c) who, with intention to further the activity of a terrorist organization, addresses a meeting for the purpose of encouraging support for the terrorist organization or to further its activity.

(2) A person, who commits the offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization under sub-section (1), shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or with fine, or with both. Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization.

Section 40 of UAPA is related offence of raising fund for a terrorist organization. It states:

(1) A person commits the offence of raising fund for a terrorist organization, who, with intention to further the activity of a terrorist organization,- (a) invites another person to provide money or other property, and intends that it should be used, or has reasonable cause to suspect that it might be used, for the purposes of terrorism; or (b) receives money or other property, and intends that it should be used, or has reasonable cause to suspect that it might be used, for the purposes of terrorism; or (c) provides money or other property, and knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that it would or might be used for the purposes of terrorism. (For the purposes of this sub-section, a reference to provide money or other property includes of its being given, lent or otherwise made available, whether or not for consideration.)

(2) A person, who commits the offence of raising fund for a terrorist organization under sub-section (1), shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or with fine, or with both. Issue of Self Determination Against the charges leveled against him, Chairman Meghen’s reply was that he has been fighting for self determination. Now the question is, will not India look for other options other than the legal. Political leaders of Manipur as well as India have been crying hoarse that the armed opposition groups of Manipur do not have any public sympathy or support. Moreover, the outfits are blamed as extortionists and robbers. Then, why not a plebiscite be conducted (as UNLF has been demanding) to decide whether people of Manipur wants to live within the Indian Union or not? India needs a clarification on the issue of self determination.

*The article is written by Yenning.

*The writer can be reached at yenning05@rocketmail.com

*You may visit www.hoipolloiandmundanity.blogspot.com for further readings.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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