HomeIndian DefenceBNS: Redrafted bills broaden definition of terrorism, include threat to economic security

BNS: Redrafted bills broaden definition of terrorism, include threat to economic security

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The revised version of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 (BNS), has made changes to Section 113, which addresses acts of terrorism. This amendment aligns it with the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, by altering the definition of a ‘terrorist act’ to include strikes on economic security and monetary stability of the country while leaving out intimidation of general public or disturbance of public order from its purview.

Notably, the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill — introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah along with the Bharatiya Nagarika Suraksha (Second) Sanhita Bill and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday — has dropped the proposed fine of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for different terrorist acts, leaving it to the courts to decide the quantum of the fine. Not only this, it has done away with the provision that sought to deny the benefit of parole to a terrorist involved in an offence that has resulted in death of a victim and which is punishable with death of imprisonment for life.

The initial BNS bill aimed to impose a fine of Rs 10 lakh for an individual involved in a terrorist act leading to death and a Rs 5 lakh fine in other instances. These other instances encompassed activities such as engaging in a terror conspiracy, being a member of a terrorist organization, providing shelter to a terrorist, and possessing property acquired from the proceeds of terrorism.

The original bill had included intimidation of government in a manner that is likely to cause death or injury to a public functionary or detention or threatening to kill a person to compel the government to do or abstain from doing any act as a “terrorist act”. The new bill redrafts these provisions as overawing by means of criminal force or causing death of any public functionary and detention, kidnapping or abduction of any person and threatening to kill or injure such person to compel the Government of India, state government or the government of a foreign country or an international or inter-governmental organisation.

The re-introduced BNS Bill’s Section 113 (previously numbered as Section 111 in the original August bill) closely resembles Section 15 to Section 21 of the UAPA. The legislation specifies that the decision on whether to register a case under Section 111 of BNS or UAPA will be made by an officer of no lower rank than Superintendent of Police.

While retaining the maximum and minimum punishment for all kinds of terrorist acts, the new BNS bill has separately outlined the punishment for organising terrorist training camps and recruitment of any person for a terrorist act as imprisonment for not less than five years but which may extend to life, along with fine. It be recalled that such terror training camps of the outlawed PFI have been busted in several states by NIA and the relevant state police.Section 113 of the revised BNS Bill also does away with the explanation on what is meant by the reference ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist organisation’.(With TOI inputs)

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