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This law, named TADA - (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities) Act, was in force between 1985 and 1995. The law was introduced to give privileges to security forces in the wake of rising terrorism in Punjab. It is argued that TADA was the first law that was specifically enacted to resist terrorist activities.

The TADA law, removed in 1995, challenged this provision in the Supreme Court, but the law was upheld constitutionally. The National Human Rights Commission, while reviewing the working of the said law, suggested that it should be repealed as it made stringent provisions which severely compromised the normative legal standards. It was also seen that it was also used in a communal and radical manner. TADA ended in 1995.(In 1993, the TADA Act was imposed on the film star Sanjay Dutt)

NOTE: By 1994, 76166 people had been arrested in this TADA. Only 4% percent of the people proved to be criminals in this, but due to the stringent provisions of this law, many people kept rotting in jail for years.



It is argued that TADA was the first law that was specifically implemented to resist terrorist activities. This law was brought against the backdrop of the Khalistan separatist movement in Punjab. Initially, it was to continue in Punjab and its border states only for two years after its implementation. Later, its duration was extended in 1987 and 1993, making TADA more rigid and comprehensive. This law increased the powers of the governing authority to fight terrorism, it made provisions for the creation of special nominated courts for the prosecutions of suspected criminals in TADA cases.





Special provisions were made in Tada regarding the definition of terrorism, arrest of suspects, bail, remand etc.

One of the provisions under its purview was to extend the remand period for one year before the inquiry. Bail was made difficult for those arrested under its purview. An important aspect of the provision of this law is to confess confessions in front of the police as evidence during the investigation.


 According to retired ACP Suresh Valishetty, the TADA Act was enacted on July 21, 1990 and it was imposed on Arun Gawli on the same day. In this way Gawli was the first accused arrested in Tada. Later, the Tada Act was also imposed on 123 accused, including the 1993 bomb blasts, Abu Salem. 100 of them were convicted in that case. The TADA court had sentenced 12 of them to death.

 Sanjay Dutt was also tried, but the TADA court later sentenced him only in the arms act. 'Sanju', based on the life of Sanjay Dutt, will be shown about the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case. This is the same case due to which Sanjay Dutt had to go to jail and his fight lasted for 23 years. Till 1994, 76166 people had been arrested in this TADA. Only 4% percent of the people proved to be criminals in this, but due to the stringent provisions of this law, many people kept rotting in jail for years.




The Supreme Court has said that the statement of an accused recorded under the TADA provisions cannot be used against the accused in any other case, especially when the special court does not have proper cognizance of the case under TADA. have taken.

In the present case, the special TADA court acquitted the accused on the ground that prior permission was not taken under Section 20 of TADA nor was it lawful.

The state appealed against this order to the Supreme Court.

The bench, agreeing with the court's opinion, said, "We are surprised to learn how sections 4 and 5 of the TADA statute can apply to anyone only because of having a walkie talkie… no classified weapons or ammunition. In our opinion intelligence is also not used in implementing the alleged .

However, the court said that the special court hearing the case under TADA can also hear other criminal cases against the accused if the offense is related to the offenses under TADA. The special court has inherent powers in this regard so that it can punish the accused if there is acceptable evidence of guilt against the accused. But the bench said that:

"In the present case, it can be seen that the prosecution has necessarily shown its reliance on the statement of the accused given under TADA. But this statement is not admissible in the court… especially when the special court has committed the offenses under TADA. It has not taken cognizance because it is not allowed… Also in the present case the prosecution report and search report presented has many flaws. We do not want to diverge from what the special court has expressed against the defendant. There are no charges that can be accepted in court so that charges can be framed against him in additional cases of TADA.

The Act was widely criticised by human rights organisations as it contained provisions violating human rights. The criticism are centred on the following facts:-

·        Under this Act whoever advocates directly or indirectly for cession or secession in any part of India is liable to be punished. The Act provided that a person can be detained up to 1 year without formal charges or trial against him.


·        Section 20 of the Act provides that detainee can be in police custody up to 60 days which increases risk of torture. Also the detainee need not be produced before a judicial magistrate, but instead may be produced before an executive magistrate who is an official of police and administrative service and is not answerable to high court.


·        The trial can be held secretly at any place and also keeps the identity of the witnesses secret violating international standards of fair trial.


·        The Act reverses the presumption of innocence of the accused under the Act. Under section 21 of the Act, the person who is accused of committing a terrorist act where arms and explosives were recovered or made confessions to someone other than a police officer or provided financial assistance for the commission of the terrorist act or by suspicion that the person has arms or explosives or financial assistance to commit the terrorist act, then the person shall be presumed to be guilty unless contrary is proved.


·        A person making confessions to a police officer not below the rank of superintendent of the police can be used as evidence against him.


·        Section 19 of the Act bars persons accused under this Act to appeal except the Supreme court.



The number of people arrested under the act had exceeded 76,000, by 30 June 1994. Twenty-five percent of these cases were dropped by the police without any charges being framed.

Only 35 percent of the cases were brought to trial, of which 95 percent resulted in acquittals.

 Less than 2 percent of those arrested were convicted.

 The TADA act was ultimately repealed and succeeded by the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (2002-2004) and this act was subsequently repealed after much controversy as well. Yet many continue to be held under TADA.

Supreme Court said:The Supreme Court has held that mere membership of a banned organisation does not make the member liable for the punishment under this Act.




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