ENEMY AGENTS ORDINANCE, 2005 (Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     25th June 2024        
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Context: The Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir announced that individuals assisting militants in the region should be prosecuted under the Enemy Agents Ordinance, 2005.

Enemy Agents Ordinance, 2005

  • About: It is a historic law with significant implications for the region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
  • Origin and Issuance: The J&K Enemy Agents Ordinance was first issued in 1917 by the then Dogra Maharaja of J&K. Laws made during the Dogra rule were referred to as ordinances.
  • Penalties: According to the ordinance, anyone deemed an enemy agent or who conspires to assist the enemy, impede Indian military or air operations, endanger lives, or commit arson can be punished with death, life imprisonment, or rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years, along with a fine.
  • Post-Partition Incorporation: After the Partition in 1947, the ordinance was incorporated as a law in the erstwhile state of J&K and was subsequently amended.
  • Legal Changes: In 2019, the repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution led to significant changes in J&K's legal framework through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.
  • Continuation and Replacement of Laws: Security laws such as the Enemy Agents Ordinance and Public Safety Act remained, while the Ranbir Penal Code was replaced with the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, other laws like The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, and The Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, were extended to J&K.
  • Enemy agent: According to it, an enemy agent means a person not operating as a member of the enemy armed force, who is employed by or works for or acts on instructions received from the enemy.

Trials Conducted Under the Ordinance

  • Special Judge Appointment: The trial under the Enemy Agents Ordinance is conducted by a special judge who is appointed by the "government in consultation with the High Court."
  • Restricted Legal Representation: Under the ordinance, the accused cannot engage a lawyer to defend himself/herself unless permitted by the court.
  • No Appeal Provision: There is no provision for appeal against the verdict, and the decision of the special judge can only be reviewed "by a person chosen by the Government from the judges of the High Court and the decision of that person shall be final."
  • Historical Application: There are scores of Kashmiris who are or have been tried and sentenced under the Enemy Agents Ordinance.
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