The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, is an act that provides for effective provisions for the prevention of some unlawful activities of groups or individuals and for dealing with terrorist activities and matters connected therewith.

This act mainly focuses on terrorist activities, and its aim is to curb terrorism. Because there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism, this article would state the distortion caused by terrorism to demonstrate the importance of combating terrorism because it has economic, human, and social consequences. The main features of any act of terrorism include using coercion or force to create violence and, thereby, spread fear, which is then utilized to attain ideological or political goals. In order to counter terrorism or unlawful activities, the UAPA of 1967 was the first law in the journey to curb terrorism in India.


Forty organizations have been added to the first schedule of the act and are regarded as terrorist organizations. As of March 16, 2022, thirteen (13) associations have been declared “unlawful associations” under Section 3 of the UAPA 1967. The recent PFI ban is under Section 3 of the act. So far, 38 individuals have been designated as terrorists under UAPA.

All of this reveals that the number of cases registered under UAPA since 2014 is increasing every year due to huge pendency’s and low disposal rates. The conviction rate has also been significantly lower for UAPA.


If an organization or association is declared unlawful under Section 4 of the legislation, notification must be delivered to the determining tribunal within 30 days. This has to be supplemented by information on every case that has been filed by the NIA, ED, police forces, and other organizations against this association. The tribunal issues a show-cause notice after taking the matter into consideration, giving the organization 30 days to provide justification for not being prohibited or labelled “illegal.” The tribunal conducts an investigation based on the response received. It has the same authority as a civil court, including the right to summon witnesses, ask a court or government agency for any public record, and provide any documents or other items that might be used as evidence. Using this data, the tribunal will decide whether to approve or refuse. The tribunal’s procedures have recently been attacked for being ambiguous and opaque, as well as for subtly endorsing the government’s use of “sealed cover,” leaving those impacted with little to no information necessary to defend themselves.


The Terrorist Affected Areas Act (TAAA), which was later renamed the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in 1987, was the first anti-terror statute. It was abolished after it expired in 1997 as a result of strong opposition to its harsh restrictions. The 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was made possible thanks to it. Although its restrictions were contained in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) of 1967, it was abolished in 2004.

UAPA continues to be the key anti-terror statute for Indian authorities today. In 2004, 2008, 2013, and 2019, it underwent amendments. These changes seek to give the government and counterterrorism organizations more authority.


The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah, on July 8, 2019. The bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The Act provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.

  • Who may commit terrorism?
  • Approval for seizure of property by the NIA
  • investigation by the NIA
  • Inclusion in the treaty schedule

Case law: Sajal Awasthi v. Union of India and Association for Protection of Civil Rights v. Union of India, with Sajal Awasthi being the lead petition.Both petitioners have more or less raised similar arguments against the amendment. While this post only outlines the grounds raised in the lead petition, they overlap greatly with those raised by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights. The overarching argument of both petitioners is that an individual may be identified as a terrorist without any judicial scrutiny and even before the commencement of a trial. Thus, they challenge the Amendment Act as being violative of the rights to equality (Article 14), free speech (Article 19), and life (Article 21) of the Constitution.




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