Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

POTA a national necessity, Centre tells SC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
In the Supreme Court today, the Centre justified the enactment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) on the ground that such a law had become a national necessity for protecting the security, sovereignty and integrity of the country.

In reply to the arguments raised by the counsel for petitioners, challenging the Constitutional validity of the law, the Attorney General, Mr Soli Sorabjee, said a strong law like POTA was needed to deal with the menace of terrorism.

“The act of terrorism cannot be equated with the breach of general law and order as contended by the petitioners,” Mr Sorabjee told a Bench comprising Mr Justice S. Rajendra Babu and Mr G.P. Mathur.

The Constitutional validity of POTA has been challenged by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and some other social organisations.

Mere possibility of the abuse of the power under POTA would not render the Act unconstitutional. If there was an abuse of any legislation, court had the power to strike down such action, but not the legislation as a whole, Mr Sorabjee said.

The Constitution Bench of the apex court, while upholding the validity of POTA’s earlier version, TADA, had laid down certain guidelines for safeguards, the Attorney General said. “All these safeguards are in-built in the new law,” he said.

He said after the World Trade Center attack in the USA, India had witnessed 4,038 terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir alone, in which, 1,008 civilians and 453 security personnel had been killed.

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