New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), country’s premiere outfit that investigates counter-terror cases, is likely to be granted more powers as the Union Cabinet is believed to have cleared a proposal to amend two laws to strengthen the NIA.
As per the proposed move, two important changes are expected to be made in the existing National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In order to make these amendments, Bills are expected to be introduced in Parliament’s ongoing Budget Session.
Following these changes, NIA will have the power to start investigations into cases of cyber crime as well as human trafficking.
Officials claimed that with an increase in a number of cases, there was a growing view within the government that a professional agency should deal with them.
In addition to those amendments, changes will also be introduced to give powers to the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have terror links as a terrorist.
As of now, only organisations are designated as 'terrorist organisations'. For this, an amendment would be made to Section 4 of the UAPA to empower NIA to identify an individual as a terrorist.
Centre had set up the NIA in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack that had claimed 166 lives.
Sources claimed that, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges.
The Government also plans to introduce another amendment in Parliament’s current session in the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters. As of now, an army man's wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer's husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law. The bill proposes to replace the term 'wife' with 'spouse', thus making the provision gender-neutral.
This would benefit a large number of personnel from the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their State and employees of the Centre posted outside India.