Chapter

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

A.G. Noorani and South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre

in Challenges to Civil Rights Guarantees in India

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780198074144
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080823 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198074144.003.0009
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

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Since Maneka Gandhi, the Supreme Court of India has been consistent in its argument that the procedure prescribed by law must be fair and reasonable. In turn, the law must conform to the other fundamental rights, especially those embodied in Article 19(1) of the Constitution concerning all the aspects of civil liberties. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is currently under review, with the goal of striking a fair balance between citizens' rights and public order. That the Supreme Court has upheld the AFSPA's constitutional validity illustrates its insensitivity to citizens' rights in cases where ‘national security’ is involved. In particular, Section 4 of the AFSPA violates Article 21 of the Constitution and must be amended. It is also necessary to establish an independent appellate body to address complaints against the armed forces or the police when they operate under the AFSPA.

Keywords: Supreme Court; civil liberties; public order; national security; Constitution; armed forces; police; citizens' rights

Chapter.  4699 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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