The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) was an anti-terrorism legislation enacted by the Parliament of India in 2002. The act replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001 and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) (1985–95), and was supported by the governing National Democratic Alliance. The act was repealed in 2004 by the United Progressive Alliance coalition.
The bill was defeated in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house) by a 113-98 vote, but was passed in a joint session, as the Lok Sabha (lower house) has more seats. It was only the third time that a bill was passed by a joint session of both houses of parliament.
* 1 Purpose
* 2 Repeal
* 3 Prominent POTA cases
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
The act provided the legal framework to strengthen administrative rights to fight terrorism within India, and was to be applied against any persons and acts covered by the provisions within the act. It was not meant as a substitute for action under ordinary criminal laws.
The act defined what a “terrorist act” and a “terrorist” is, and granted special powers to the investigating authorities described under the act. To ensure certain powers were not misused and human rights violations would not take place, specific safeguards were built into the act. Under the new law, a suspect could be detained for up to 180 days without the filing of chargesheet in court. It also allowed law enforcement agencies to withhold the identities of witnesses, and to treat a confession made to the police as an admission of guilt. Under regular Indian law, a person can deny such confessions in court, but not under POTA.
Once the Act became law, many reports surfaced of the law being grossly abused. Claims emerged that POTA legislation contributed to corruption within the Indian police and judicial system, and human rights and civil liberty groups fought against it. The use of the act became one of the issues during the 2004 general election. The United Progressive Alliance committed to repealing the act as part of their campaign. On October 7, 2004, the Union Cabinet approved the repeal of POTA. NDA and other parties condemned this act of publicity. NDA asked UPA to introduce the Act again, but Congress criticized it and did not pass the Act. In November 2008, after the attacks happened in Mumbai, Narendra Modi and Lal Krishna Advani accused UPA government for not passing the Act, which would have prevented the attacks. Activists supported to BJP government for this.
 Prominent POTA cases
* Vaiko, a prominent Tamil politician, was controversially arrested under the POTA for his support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. * S.A.R. Geelani, a lecturer at Delhi University, was sentenced to death by a special POTA court for his alleged role in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. He was later acquitted on appeal by the Delhi Bench of the High Court on a legal technicality. * Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami group, arrested under POTA. * Raghuraj Pratap Singh, a.k.a. Raja Bhaiya, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Kunda, India was arrested on the orders of then Chief Minister, Mayawati Kumari. He was sent to jail under POTA.[