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No blanket ban on NSA: SC

No blanket ban on NSA: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it cannot issue blanket orders restraining authorities from invoking the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against people protesting the enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

NSA cannot be allowed to be misused, the top court said but added that there cannot be a general command as public properties are being burnt during the protests and it may be organised.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee refused to entertain a plea challenging the imposition of NSA in few states as also in the national Capital amid anti-CAA protests.

"We are of the opinion that general writ will not lie in this case. We cannot invoke powers under Article 32. We agree that the NSA should not be misused but there cannot be a general command. This will create chaos," the bench said.

Petitioner-advocate M L Sharma said anti-CAA protests are going on peacefully in Shaheen Bagh area of Delhi and other places and states should not be allowed to invoke the stringent law against the protesters.

"You show us a specific instance, where it has been done. We cannot issue a blanket order. If a general direction is passed this will create a chaos. You don't know what is going on in Calcutta, Tripura and Assam. Properties are being burnt and that may be organised. We don't know the antecedents of people," the court top said.

Sharma persisted with seeking relief saying that people protesting peacefully may be booked under the law and the court should protect them.

To this the bench said: "If a person is involved in violence and involved in say hundred criminal cases. Then what would government do. Will not the government act?" It asked Sharma to file an amended petition showing some specific instances where NSA has been invoked against the anti-CAA protesters.

The bench told Sharma that he can also file an intervention application in the pending cases challenging the validity of the CAA and seek appropriate relief. Sharma then sought liberty to withdraw the petition and file an amended petition giving specific details of violations of the NSA, which was granted by the court.

Sharma's plea said NSA has been imposed to curb and pressure people protesting against the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on January 10 had extended detaining powers to Delhi Police under the NSA for a three-month period starting January 19.

This allows police to detain a person for 12 months without a trial.

With agency inputs

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