The Rajasthan High Court noted that the crime of gold smuggling is protected by the meaning of ‘terrorism act’ under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, to endanger or likely to threaten the economic security of the region (UAPA).
The Court noted that Section 15(I)(iiia) of the Act would extend to such an operation. Section 15(i)(iiia) of the UAPA applies to actions aimed at threatening or likely to threaten the economic security of a country causing ‘harm to, through the production or smuggling of, or distribution of, India’s monetary stability of high-quality counterfeit paper currency, coin or any other substance.’
This point was made by a single bench of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma when quashing the rejection of a UAPA FIR in a petition filed under Section 482 in the Criminal Code of Procedure.
“Under Section 15(I)(a) (iiia) of the Act of 1967, the smuggling of gold with intention to threaten or likely to threaten the financial security of the country is mostly covered underneath the smuggling of “any other substance” Thus, the contention of the petitioner in this regard is not tenable” the bench held in Mohammed Aslam vs Union of India and another.
The bench also found that under UAPA, the FIR did not amount to ‘double risk’ only because the Customs Act awaiting litigation was pending. With regards to the suspected crime of smuggling gold.
The offense under the Customs Act for gold smuggling and the offense under Section 16 of the Act of 1967 are distinct offences, so separate cases can be held under the statute. Thus, the disputed FIR cannot be said to be violative of the provisions of Article 20 of the Constitution of India and Section 300 of Cr.P.C.’
A Special NIA Court in Kochi recently ruled that a simple act of smuggling gold from abroad does not constitute a “terrorist act” according to Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, unless there is proof that the act was carried out with the intention or likely to endanger India’s economic security.
In 2018, before the 2013 reform, the Kerala High Court ruled by a 2:1 vote that the crime of fake currency circulation was not a ‘terrorism attack’ under UAPA.