Centre asks UP govt not to slap NSA arbitrarily

New Delhi: Concerned over the detention of a large number of people under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), the Centre has asked the Uttar Pradesh government not to use the law in an arbitrary manner.

In a letter, the Home Ministry has conveyed to the Uttar Pradesh government that it should slap the NSA on an accused only when it is satisfied that the activities of the person are detrimental to the security of the nation, public order or essential services.

The Home Ministry said that the NSA should not be slapped in petty cases, theft, burglary or against political workers engaged in peaceful activities.

The Centre has sent the letter in the wake of complaints that the Uttar Pradesh government has booked a large number of people under the NSA.

The maximum period for which any person may be detained under the NSA is one year, giving no scope for getting bail. The detention order can be made by the district magistrate or a commissioner of police under their respective jurisdictions.

The use of the NSA, allowing preventive detention, by various state governments has come under criticism on different occasions.

The reports came in the wake of Uttar Pradesh government`s guideline on holding rallies and protests that states that no dharna, procession, rally or protest programme can be organised without prior permission from authorities and an undertaking that they would maintain peace and not damage public property or disrupt traffic and public services.

The guideline appears to have been prompted by the growing number of protests ahead of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.