As per a Home Department notification dated January 10, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has granted the police commissioner emergency powers to detain people. The powers are granted under sub section 3 of section 3, read with clause e of section 2 of the National Security Act, 1980. The order will be valid from January 19 to April 18, 2020.
According to section 3 (3) of the NSA, “If, having regard to the circumstances prevailing or likely to prevail in any area within the local limits of the jurisdiction of a District Magistrate or a Commissioner of Police, the State Government is satisfied that it is necessary so to do, it may, by order in writing, direct, that during such period as may be specified in the order, such District Magistrate or Commissioner of Police may also, if satisfied as provided in sub-section (2), exercise the powers conferred by the said sub-section: Provided that the period specified in an order made by the State Government under this sub-section shall not, in the first instance, exceed three months, but the State Government may, if satisfied as aforesaid that it is necessary so to do, amend such order to extend such period from time to time by any period not exceeding three months at any one time.”
Meanwhile clause e of section 2 clarifies, “”State Government”, in relation to a Union territory, means the administrator thereof.”
The notification may be viewed here:
In wake of protests as well as excesses inflicted upon university students in the national capital, this notification appears to be rather ominous. Now, it would be possible for the police to say, detain a protester for up to three months, if they choose to do so. But, the police on their part insist that this is a routine order.