BY : Shivprasad Malang
National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. This act came into effect as“An Act to constitute an investigation agency at the national level to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences) which were affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States and offences under Acts enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
NIA National Investigation Agency allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences which include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sections 121 to 130). NIA National Investigation Agency will now have the power to investigate the following offences also including human trafficking, offences related to counterfeit currency or banknotes, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
Delhi Government nominated The Additional Session Judge at Shahdara District, Delhi as a special court by issuing a notification invoking the power conferred under Section 22 of the NIA Act. The Special Court in New Delhi has jurisdiction over these cases. Communal clashes burst out in violence at Northern part of Delhi on February 24, led due to opposition of citizenship law. Which led to at least 53 deaths and many injured. Delhi Police has charged the responsible persons under UAPA claiming their involvement in the riots. NIA constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences on the recommendation of the High court of Delhi in this case.
NIA has the power to investigate and prosecute offences specified in the schedule. The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers concerning the investigation of such offences, across India. Officers of the NIA have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
Also,Delhi High Court decided that Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) offences are triable by courts other than Special Court under NIA Act and holding that does not state that offences under it can be tried only by a Special Court constituted under NIA Act, the Delhi High Court on 22nd June dismissed a habeas corpus petition concerning the alleged illegality of custody of Delhi riots accused. (Aqil Hussian vs State & Ors.)