About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

1 min read
About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) Blog Image


The Union Home Minister recently said the central government will consider revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

  • It is a law enacted by the Parliament in 1958 which gives the armed forces special powers and immunity to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. 
  • When is it applied? It can be applied only after an area has been declared “disturbed” under section 2 of the Act.
  • What is a Disturbed area? An area can be considered to be disturbed due to differences or disputes among different religious, racial, language, or regional groups or castes or communities.
  • Who declares an area as disturbed?
    • The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory, can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
    • It can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
  • The ‘special powers’ of armed forces under AFSPA are: 
    • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. 
    • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant, enter or search a premises without a warrant, and ban the possession of firearms.
    • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
  • These armed forces are immune from prosecution unless the Union Government provides sanction to the prosecuting agencies.
  • Where is AFSPA in force now? Apart from Nagaland, the AFSPA is currently in force in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Manipur except Imphal, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Q1) What is a warrant?

Warrants are legal documents issued by courts authorising the police, or other permitted authority, to make an arrest, seize property, conduct a search, or execute a judgment.

Source: Centre To Consider Revoking AFSPA, Pull Back Troops From J&K: Amit Shah