Sunday, 1 January 2012

Armed Forces Special Powers Act

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 provides the governor to declare any area of the State as ‘disturbed area’ on the basis of legislative guidelines. There should be periodic review of the declaration before the expiry of six months. The act gives vast extensive powers to the army. “Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces” in a disturbed area may fire upon or use force in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order after giving due warning. This may lead to  “death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or move persons or the carrying of weapons or of things capable of being used as weapons or of fire-arms, ammunition or explosive substances;”

(c) “arrest, without warrant, any person who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest;”
 The act gives the power to
enter and search without warrant any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any person believed to be wrongfully restrained or confined or any property reasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises, and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary.”
The arrested must person must be handed to the nearest police station as soon as possible with a report of arrested him.  The act protects the person who is acting under this act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.

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