• January 25, 2017
  • 9:30 pm
  • LexHindustan
  •  1. Terrorism[1]

Violent acts by non-state groups against the general population for political purposes are abhorrent crimes that, when widespread or systematic, can amount to crimes against humanity.  Human Rights Watch condemns such acts. Governments have a responsibility to protect those within their jurisdiction from extremist attacks, but must ensure that all counterterrorism measures respect human rights. Human Rights Watch monitors actions by governments and inter-governmental bodies against violent extremism to ensure they do not infringe on the rights to life, to protection from torture and ill-treatment, and to a fair trial.  We also condemn governments for targeting minorities or stifling the rights to free expression, association and peaceful assembly in the name of security. Such measures are not only unlawful under international law, they are also counter-productive.

Human rights and Terrorism can be study by following case laws

The Supreme Court of India in Kartar Singh v State of Punjab[2] where it was observed that the country has been in the firm grip of spiraling terrorist violence and is caught between deadly pangs of disruptive activities.

Supreme Court of India as far back as in 1994 dwelt at length on it and drew a distinction between a merely criminal act and terrorist act in its judgment Hitendra Vishnu Thakur v State of Maharashtra[3] “It may be possible to describe it (Terrorism) as use of violence with a view to disturb even tempo, peace and tranquility of the society and create a sense of fear and insecurity.”
Apart from Universal Declaration of Hum an Rights, 1948, there are other some important international normative framework relating to human rights, best practices are international covenant on civil and political rights, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984; Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989; United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

The Supreme Court in KeshvanandanBharati[4]

The Constitution of India in its preamble, laid pragmatic panorama of constitutional philosophy to usher in the egalitarian social order under Rule of Law. The State, drawn from the will or the people , has been vested with power and duty to bring about united and integrated nation through human rights as instrumentality to achieve the cherished goal of social, economic and political justice, equality of opportunity, status and dignity to all people. And in order to make them meaningful and to translate them into reality, the certainty of human rights is woven around the right to education, health, shelter, congenial environment, without discrimination as basics to unity and fraternity among the people, civil and political rights, social, economic and cultural rights have been elaborated to feed and give content to the human rights.

Some of the important legislations that have been used for regulating terrorism and concen1ed activities such as Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1985 (commonly known as TADA 1985 – repealed), Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (commonly known as TADA 1987 – repealed); Prevention of Terrorist Act, 2002 (commonly known as POTA – repealed), the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (State Law); apart from the present existing law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and National Security Act, 1980. The Human Rights Violations committed under Anti-Terrorism Law have been brought to the forefront both by he Judiciary and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) . The constitutionality of TADA 1987 in Kartar Singh v State of Punjab where the Apex Court proceeded to tamper certain provisions of TADA 1987 so as to bring them within reasonable bounds and to introduce requisite safeguards against abuse. The Supreme Court also observed that the Parliament is competent to enact the said Act under Article 248 r/ w List I Entry 97 and not by List II Entry 1 of Schedule 7 to the Constitution of India .After Kartar Singh, validity of TADA was again challenged in R.M. Tiwari v State[5]and in spite of close monitoring of the use of TADA , 1987 by the Court, the Review Committee complained of its gross abuse continued to be raised by various quarters, where under the circumstances of the case, the Court upheld the constitutionality of TADA, 1987.

Over a period of time, India continues to face the score-age of terrorism. Accordingly , the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (commonly called as POTA) was enacted to make the provisions for the Prevention of and for dealing with terrorist activities in the face of multifarious challenges in the management of internal security of the country and cross border terrorist activities and insurgent groups. Again the validity of some of the provisions of POTA was challenged in People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Another v Union of India[6] and under circumstances of the case, the Apex Court discussed the validity of POTA 2002 and observed that the Court has to maintain the delicate balance between the State Acts and Human Rights upholding the constitutional validity of the Act.

In Devendra Pal Singh v N.C. T. of Delhi[7] where 9 persons had died and several others injured on account of terrorist act and the Apex Court under the circumstances of the case said that such terrorist have no respect for hum an life and they should be given death sentence.

In a much talked about case of Sanjay Dutt v State of Maharashtra[8] through C.B.1.the Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction for possessing the arms and ammunitions under the Arms Act 1959 and not under Section 5 of the TADA.


[2]Kartar Singh v State of Punjab(1994) 3 SCC 569

[3]Hitendra Vishnu Thakur v State of Maharashtra{(1994) 4 SCC 602}

[4]KeshvanandanBharatiAIR 1973 SC 1461.

[5]R.M. Tiwari v State( 1996) 2 SCC 61OJ

[6]People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Another v Union of India{(2004) 9 SCC 580]

[7]Devendra Pal Singh v N.C. T. of Delhi (2002)5 SCC 234}

[8]Sanjay Dutt v State of MaharashtraJT 2013 (5) SC 1