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Context: The Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (APUAPA), enacted in 2014, is currently under scrutiny, with civil society organisations calling for its repeal and a petition contesting it before the Gauhati High Court.


  • The Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2014 (APUAPA) is a state law that aims to prevent certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations that may affect the security, public order or essential services of the state. However, the law has been facing opposition and legal challenge from civil society groups and activists who claim that it is draconian, arbitrary and violates human rights.

The APUAPA empowers the state government or any official not below the rank of a Secretary or a District Magistrate to detain any person for up to six months without trial if they are suspected of being involved in any of the following categories of unlawful activities :


  • Distilling, manufacturing, storing, transporting, selling or distributing any liquor, intoxicating drug or substance in violation of any law.

Habitual depredation of the environment

  • Committing or abetting any offence related to environmental protection, river conservation, sand mining, quarrying or mining.

Habitual drug offender

  • Cultivating, manufacturing, stocking, transporting, selling or distributing any drug in violation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 or any other law.

Property grabber

  • Illegally occupying or encroaching upon any property belonging to another person or the government.

Dangerous person

  • Committing or abetting any offence involving violence, intimidation, extortion, kidnapping, robbery, dacoity or murder.

Unlawful person

  • Indulging in or promoting any illegal activity or organization that is harmful to the public order or essential services of the state.

The APUAPA also defines public order as having been adversely affected by any act that causes or is likely to cause harm, danger, alarm, insecurity, or grave or widespread danger to life, property or public health.

The APUAPA has been criticized for being vague, overbroad and prone to misuse by the authorities. Some of the main concerns raised by the opponents of the law are:

Does not provide any clear criteria

  • The law does not provide any clear criteria or grounds for determining what constitutes an unlawful activity or a threat to public order. This leaves a wide scope for subjective interpretation and arbitrary application by the officials.

Does not provide any safeguards

  • The law does not provide any safeguards or mechanisms for judicial review or appeal against the detention orders. The detainees have no right to legal representation, bail or access to family members.
  • The only recourse available is to approach an advisory board within three weeks of detention, which will give its opinion on whether there is sufficient cause for detention. However, the opinion of the board is not binding on the government and there is no guarantee that the board will be independent and impartial.

Violates the fundamental rights

  • The law violates the fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed by the Constitution of India, such as the right to life, liberty, equality, dignity and fair trial. The law also contravenes the international human rights standards and norms that India is a party to.

Unnecessary and redundant

  • The law is unnecessary and redundant as there are already existing laws at the central and state level that deal with various offences and unlawful activities.
  • The law also overlaps with the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), which is a central law that empowers the government to ban any organization or individual from engaging in terrorist or unlawful activities.

Recent events

  • The APUAPA was notified in 2014. However, it came into public attention only recently when a petition was filed challenging its constitutional validity before the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court.
  • The petition has also alleged that the law has been misused by the authorities to detain several people without any valid reason or evidence.
  • The state government has defended the law as a necessary measure to maintain peace and order in the state and to curb various anti-social and criminal activities. The government has also claimed that the law has not been used indiscriminately or arbitrarily and that no one has been detained under it so far.

The case is still pending before the court and no final verdict has been given yet. Meanwhile, several civil society groups and activists have joined hands to campaign against the law and demand its repeal. They have also organized protests, rallies and awareness programs across the state to highlight the issues and implications of the law. They have also appealed to the public and the media to support their cause and voice their dissent against the law.

Must Read Articles:

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA): https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/unlawful-activities-prevention-act-uapa-32


Q. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is legislation that empowers the Indian government to designate individuals and groups as terrorists and ban their activities. The act has been criticized for being vague, draconian and prone to misuse. How can the UAPA be reformed to ensure that it does not undermine the constitutional values and democratic principles of India?