Maharashtra Government has proposed an internal security act to deal with the challenges of terrorism and communal and caste violence. The proposed legislation, ‘Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act, 2016,’ would be the first such state-level act for internal security which will give more power to the police department if implemented.
What’s there in the draft?
- It proposes ‘special security zones’ where movement of arms, explosives and inflow of unaccounted funds will be prohibited.
- Dams, defence institute bases, government buildings or facilities, nuclear reactors, transportation systems have been identified as ‘critical infrastructure sectors’ under the act.
- It proposes a ban or regulation of production, sale, storage, possession or entry of any devices or equipment or poisonous, chemical, biological or radioactive article or substances, or electronic content of potentially explosive nature or any inflow of funds in the SSZ, if it is a threat to the internal security or public order in the area.
- Every public establishment and government office shall carry out the security audit of its premises and every owner of the premises of the public establishment shall save video footage of public activities for a period of 30 days.
- It will be compulsory for all the private institutions to have CCTV surveillance and security arrangements as guided by the police.
- There would be a ‘state internal security committee’ with Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman, and include Minister of State (Home) and the Chief Secretary. It would oversee the implementation of this act and also review its implementation.
- The act provides strict action against those who hamper the critical assets by means of facilities systems and equipments which if destroyed, degraded or rendered unavailable would affect reliability or operability of the system jeopardizing the national security or economic security. The act also has brought a check over public agitation.
- As per the provisions in the act the prior police permission would be needed for any gathering where more than 100 people are expected. Many fear that this is a move to curtail public agitations. Even if the act clarifies that any bona fide act against the policies of the govt with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful and peaceful mean shall not be deemed as act intended to endanger the safety or the stability of the state.