On July 15, 2019 Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament passed National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008 to take action against new schedule offences including human trafficking, terrorism etc by empowering investigating agency for speedy trials and convictions.Key points:
i. NIA act 2008: It allows NIA, a central agency which was formed in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack(2008) to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). Further, it allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
- Scheduled offences: It specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by NIA. These include offences under Acts such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
- Special Courts: The Act allows the Central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences under it.
ii. Amendment in NIA Bill, 2019:
- NIA will now able to investigate following cases related to human trafficking, cyber terrorism, prohibited arms and ammunition, counterfeit currency or bank notes & offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
- The bill gives power to NIA officers to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India & it also allows central government may direct NIA to investigate such cases as if offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
- The bill enables the central government to designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.