Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in "disturbed areas".

According to various acts under AFSPA, including The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, an area once declared "disturbed", has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months.

These kind of acts were originated in the time of British, The Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance of 1942 was promulgated by the British on 15 August 1942 to suppress the Quit India Movement.

Human rights activists and organizations has continuously criticised AFSPA for concerns about human rights violations in the regions of its enforcement.

Deployment of AFSPA in India

One such act under AFSPA was passed in 1958 and was applicable to the Naga Hills, then part of Assam. Currently the act spread, one by one, to the other Seven Sister States in NE India.

In 1983 another act under AFSPA was applied to Punjab and Chandigarh which was withdrawn after 14 years in 1997. In 1990 the act was applied to Jammu and Kashmir and is still in force.

At present acts under AFSPA are applicable to Assam, Nagaland, manipur excluding Imphal municipal council area, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Constitutional provisions
According to constitution a state of emergency can be declared by the "State governments" based on various situations. In such situation the central government is obliged to send in the BSF and the CRPF on the request of state government, these cases does not comes under the purview of AFSPA.

AFSPA is declared on extra ordinary situations like militancy and insurgency, and especially when borders are threatened or when a state, or part of it, is declared a 'disturbed area'.

Armed forces's powers under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)

1) Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death against the person who is acting against law, after giving such due warning.

2) Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made.

3) Arrest anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is suspected of having done so, without a warrant.

4) Search any premise or any vehicle to recover any person, arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it. Person so arrested shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay.

5) Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law.

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