Delhi Police given power to detain under the National Security Act

National Security Act, 1980 is a draconian law used to empower the police forces to exercise powers beyond their regular jurisdiction.

Under Section 3(3) of the Act, the Lieutenant governor issued an order allowing the Police to detain individuals “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community”.

The Law provides that such an order should only be passed if the State Government is satisfied that such an order is necessary. The order has been passed for allowing the Police to detain individuals for a period of three months from 19th January to 18th April 2020. While the order comes in the backdrop of the intense anti-CAA protests in Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi insisted that the order was merely a routine action taken by the State Government and was not related to the protests. While the preventive detention enforceable by the Police is rather draconian, the detained individuals have certain rights.

Under Section 8 of the Act, the individual detained must be notified of the ground under which he/she has been detained. The detention must follow the same procedure as a warrant for arrest under the Criminal Procedural Code. The detention can be for a period of upto 12 months and the detainee is liable to be moved and kept under any conditions prescribed by the State Government.