Shikha Pandey


The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (‘NIA Act’) was enacted for setting up a central agency, namely the National Investigation Agency. It is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of offences related to national security. The NIA Act prescribes a specific procedure for investigating any offence classified as a ‘Scheduled Offence’ under Section 6 of the NIA Act. In doing so, the NIA Act empowers the Central Government and the state governments to designate Special Courts by notification and vest them with the powers to investigate and prosecute Scheduled Offences in accordance with the special procedures set out in the NIA Act. The aforementioned power has been exercised multiple times across India by the Central Government and the state governments. However, the powers vested in state governments pursuant to Section 22 of the NIA Act to designate Special Courts, have often been a point of debate and dispute before appellate courts. The dispute has been on the grounds of ambiguity and vagueness in the letter of the law. This paper examines the NIA Act and judicial precedents, to analyse the extent of the power vested in the state governments under Section 22 of the NIA Act. Using the empirical study from the conflict-torn region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the paper demonstrates that the vagueness and ambiguity in Section 22 of the NIA Act has been used by the state of Chhattisgarh to create an unintelligible classification of offences related to left-wing extremism, for trial by the Special Court in Bastar. The paper will also show that such classification has resulted in a violation of the procedural rights of individuals belonging to indigenous communities in Bastar.

Custom Citation

Shikha Pandey, 'Anti-Terrorism Courts and Procedural (In)Justice: The Case of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Courts in South Chhattisgarh, India' (2020) 16(1) Socio-Legal Review 109

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)