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NSA against hoarding COVID-19 essentials

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:

  1. The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months.
  • But the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.
  1. 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.