The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Union Government to fighting terror in India. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. On July 8, 2019, the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill - 2019 was proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the lower house. The bill amends the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act - 2008. Also, the act provides for a national-level agency to prosecute and investigate offences mentioned in schedule offences. Moreover, the Act permits for the formation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.

key provisions of the bill

Scheduled offences The schedule to the Act specifies the offences list which are to be prosecuted and investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). These include offences under Acts are-
  • the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
  • the Atomic Energy Act, 1962,

The Bill permits the NIA to investigate the following crimes or offences, in addition:
  • production or selling of banned arms,
  • offences related to fake currency notes,
  • offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
  • cyber-terrorism and human trafficking
Jurisdiction of the NIA The Act provides for the formation of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to prosecute and investigate offences specified in the schedule, as highlighted above. The officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have the same powers as other police officers related to the investigation of such offences, across India. Under the bill, officers of the NIA will have the power to probe scheduled offences committed beyond Indian border, subject to domestic laws of other countries and international treaties. The union government can directs the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi shall have jurisdiction over these cases.
Special Courts The Act permits the union government to set up Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The Bill modify this to state that the union government may nominate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The union government needs to discuss the Chief Justice of the High Court (HC) under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before nominating it as a Special Court. When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will allocate cases among the courts. State governments may further designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the scheduled offences trial.