Itanagar: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed by activist Payi Gyadi at the Itanagar permanent bench of the Guwahati High Court, urging the repeal of the controversial Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2014 (APUAPA).
In response, the Court has issued a notice to the state government, requesting a response to the PIL.
Addressing a press conference at the Press Club in Itanagar on Friday, Gyadi alleged that the state government has been exploiting the law to suppress public voices. He described the law as “draconian, “illegal”, “unconstitutional”, and “arbitrary”, further contending that it infringes upon Article 22 of the Indian constitution.
Gyadi highlighted the recent detention of individuals who voiced their concerns regarding the APPSC cash-for-job scam as evidence for potential misuse of the law. He emphasized the detrimental impact of the law on activists who speak out against corruption in the state.
Furthermore, Gyadi questioned why the state government had not implemented the law during previous years when the state witnessed a series of bandh calls which resulted in the destruction of shopping malls, damage to vehicles, and disruption of peace and tranquility.
“Instead of resorting to APUAPA, there were several provisions under the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) that could have been utilized to address the situation and restore normalcy,” Gyadi said. He criticized the intentional use of the act by the district administration to instill fear among the public.
Gyadi also expressed concern over the district administration’s decision to detain individuals alongside regular convicts in the district jail, deeming it a grave mistake.
He clarified that the PIL was filed solely in the public interest and devoid of any personal or political motives. Gyadi emphasized that citizens possess the right to question the state government regarding any irregularities or corrupt activities. But suppressing their voices through such a law is unacceptable in a democratic country, he observed.
Gyadi further informed that the PIL, submitted to the court on June 7, 2023, consists of 13 points supporting the call for the repeal of the APUAPA.
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“The APUAPA law serves as a shield for the state government and those involved in corruption. It offers no benefit to the public and, therefore, must be repealed,” Gyadi said.
While bandh calls are illegal, they become the last resort for organizations when the state government fails to respond to genuine public concerns, he said.
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