Detention under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act In Relation To Right to Life And Personal Liberty: An Analysis

The Unlawful Actions (Prevention) Act came into force on 30th December, 1967 with the aim of to stop illegal terrorist activities that are a threat to the India’ sovereignty and integrity which shall be punished by the authorities. The central government has the authority to designate any of the organization as a terror group or terrorist organization as well as to give punishment for any illegal or terror act.[[1]]  After the Act came into force many of the criticism came through with the view , it was amended by the Parliament in the year 2019. Earlier it was seen that the terrorist activities were deal in the Act of “Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA)” which is now repealed due to contradiction of the fundamental rights that are protected by the Constitution of India.[[2]] In the current article, there will be a discussion over the section 43 of the UAPA Act with its critical analysis.

The objective of the act

The main objective of the Act is to provide security of the state. It comes with the lie to punish the terrorist found in the country or to punish the individuals that act in a manner to prejudice the state’s peace and security. The following are the basic objectives of the Act-

  • To protect the state from illegal and terror acts.
  • To maintain public orders.
  • To abide by the foreign affairs regards to the terror acts of Indian citizens or foreign citizens that attack Indian states.
  • Providing those services that are essential for the country in order to protect the communities.[[3]]

In the case of Mariappan v. The District Collector And Ors.[[4]], the Supreme Court held that “object of detention and the detention laws, is not to punish, but, to prevent the commission of certain offences”.

Grounds for preventive detention

As per the Act, there are four main grounds that are necessary to put obligation over a person in order to punish under UAPA. The grounds are-

  • First ground is to protect the security of the state and maintain the public orders.
  • The second ground is to maintain essential supplies of the defense academy.
  • To maintain foreign affairs of the country.
  • “A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article 21”.[[5]]

The constitutional validity of the preventive detention law

In the following cases constitutional validity of the Act was discussed-

  • Ahmed Noor Mohamad Bhatti v. State of Gujarat[[6]]

In the said case it was discussed that “while upholding the validity of the power of the Police under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 to arrest and detention of a person without a warrant to prevent the commission of a Cognizable offense ruled that a provision could not be held to be unreasonable as arbitrary and therefore unconstitutional merely because the Police official might abuse his authority”.

  • K. Gopalan v. The State of Madras[[7]]

In the said case it was discussed that “The preventive Detention Act, 1950, with the exception of section 14 thereof did not contravene any of the Articles of the Constitution and even though section 14 was ultra vires inasmuch as it contravened the provisions of Article 22 of the Constitution, as this section was severable from the remaining sections of the Act, the invalidity of Section 14 did not affect the validity of the Act as a whole and the detention of the petitioner was not illegal”.


In my unreserved opinion, the legislation that permits some degree of transparency and judicial review should immediately repeal UAPA. Legislation pertaining to the protection of political dissent should also be passed in order to clearly define what constitutes political dissent, and those who were wrongfully imprisoned under the UAPA but later found innocent should receive compensation. The UAPA has evolved into a method of pursuing individuals who are allegedly participating in terrorist operations without recourse to the checks and balances of the criminal justice system, and its reach has significantly increased over time. Since intent has been given more weight than the act itself, actions like making public speeches and attending public gatherings are illegal.


The aim of introducing the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was to control the increasing thread of terrorism in India. Some of the instances of terrorist activities which compelled the Parliament to make such legislation and amended it from time to time were the Mumbai Attacks of 2011, the Delhi Bombing of 2013, the Hyderabad Blast and increasing cross-border insurance in Kashmir. The ultimate objective of this Act is to stop terrorist activities and put an end to illegal activities which are a threat to the integrity and security of India. Also, it is correct to say that certain provisions of the act are under judicial scrutiny as they seem to be contrary to fundamental rights.

Written By- Annu 

Lovely Professional University




  1. IndiaSpend, Story in Numbers: Pending Cases Under UAPA on the Rise, Shows Data Business Standard News (2021), (last visited Oct. 3, 2022).
  2. Criminal Justice Sedition & amp; UAPA et al., The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and a long way to justice – the leaflet The Leaflet – An Independent Platform for Cutting-Edge, Progressive, Legal, and Political Opinion (2022), (last visited Oct. 3, 2022).
  3. Sankalp Mirani, Constitutionality of UAPA Amendment Legal Service India – Law, Lawyers and Legal Resources (2021),,to%20life%20and%20personal%20liberty. (last visited Nov 1, 2022)
  4. C.P. (MD) No. 244 of 2014.
  5. Surya A. Nair, Manupatra (2022). Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar (2022), (last visited Nov 1, 2022).
  6. AIR 2005 SC 2115, SCC p. 650, para 5
  7. AIR 1950 SC 27

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