NSA against hoarding COVID-19 essentials
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against hoarding, profiteering, adulteration and black-marketing of COVID-19 essentials, including drugs and equipment.
- The NSA is a preventive detention law that involves the detainment (containment) of a person in order to keep him/her from committing future crimes and/or from escaping future prosecution.
Period of Confinement:
- The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months.
- But the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.
- A person can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them.
- The person can appeal before a high court advisory board but will not be allowed a lawyer during the trial.
Concerns associated with the misuse of this law:
- Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution says an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
- According to Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC), any person arrested has to be informed of the grounds of arrest and has the right to bail.
- However, under National Security Act, none of these rights is available to the person detained.
- The government holds the right to conceal information which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose.