The Lok Sabha passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on July 15, 2019. Special powers have been given to the officers of NIA through this amendment bill. National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill gives powers to the NIA to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and their interests abroad. The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack which had claimed 166 lives.
The bill provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). Further, it allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The other bills for discussion in the Lok Sabha comprised the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, to be considered and passed by the members in the House.
This bill mandates the setting up of Special Courts for NIA. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha after detailed discussion by Home Minister Amit Shah in the house.
Major Amendments in NIA Bill 2019:
- Circle of investigation has been extended. At present, the NIA can investigate offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
- NIA will be able to investigate cases related to human trafficking, terrorism, cyber-crime or terrorism. After amendment NIA will also be able to handle cases related to prohibited arms and ammunition.
- Another major change is that NIA’s jurisdiction has been extended. Now officers of NIA will have the same powers as police officers. This will be applicable across the country.
- After the amendment, Bill gives NIA officers the power to investigate offences committed outside India.
- NIA’s jurisdiction will be subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
- Another change done in NIA is related to the establishment of special trials courts for the offences that come under NIA’s purview.
- The existing Act allows the Centre to constitute special courts for NIA’s trials. But the Bill enables the Central government to designate session courts as special courts for such trials.