Sedition cases plummet, UAPA offences surge: NCRB annual reporttext_fields
The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) annual report reveals a significant decline in sedition cases across India, dropping from 76 in 2021 to a mere 20 in 2022, significantly after the Supreme Court placed the colonial-era sedition law in abeyance.
However, the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has witnessed a startling 23% rise, with 1,005 cases registered in 2022 compared to 814 in the previous year.
Jammu and Kashmir reported a substantial increase in UAPA cases, rising from 289 in 2021 to 371 in 2022, indicating a complex legal landscape. Manipur closely followed with 167 cases, while Punjab and Haryana also reported a surge in UAPA cases.
The overall data on offences against the state paints a concerning picture, with more than 5,610 cases lodged in 2022, up from 5,164 in 2021. Uttar Pradesh leads the tally with over 2,231 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir.
Remarkably, the NCRB data shows that while 241 sedition cases and 5,610 UAPA cases are pending investigation, some cases have been concluded with the police deeming the allegations as "false." Specifically, 4 sedition cases and 52 UAPA cases have reached this conclusion.
The NCRB report further delves into the number of arrests, revealing that more than 38 individuals were arrested in sedition cases, while a staggering 2,636 were arrested under FIRs invoking the UAPA. The overall arrests for offences against the state reached 9,375, with Uttar Pradesh accounting for over one-third of the total arrests.
The regional breakdown indicates that Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh collectively registered three-fourths of all UAPA cases in 2022. In contrast, one-fourth of sedition cases were concentrated in West Bengal alone. This dynamic reflects the diverse legal challenges faced by different states.
Notably, the report highlights a consistent downward trend in sedition cases since 2020, while UAPA cases have seen a steady rise over the past three years. In 2021, 76 sedition cases and 814 UAPA cases were recorded, and in 2020, the figures stood at 73 and 796, respectively.
Examining a broader category of 'offences against the state,' the report notes that 5,610 cases were registered in 2022, showing an upward trajectory from the previous years. The majority of these cases, 78.5%, fall under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, while 17.9% are under the UAPA.
The report concludes with a cautionary note from the NCRB, emphasizing the need to distinguish between the rise in crime numbers and an increase in the registration of crimes by the police.
It suggests that an increase in crime figures may be attributed to citizen-centric police initiatives, such as e-FIR facilities or women's help desks, rather than an actual surge in criminal activity. The NCRB advocates for a professional investigation into the underlying factors in local communities to address pertinent issues effectively.