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  • Context (IE): Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) said those found assisting militants in J&K should be tried by investigating agencies under the Enemy Agents Ordinance, 2005.

Historical background

  • It was first issued by the Dogra Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in 1917.
  • It is referred to as an “ordinance” since laws during Dogra rule were called ordinances.
  • It was incorporated into law after the partition in 1947 and subsequently amended.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, passed in 2019, replaced some state laws with Indian laws and specified which ones would remain in place.
  • While the Public Safety Act and the Enemy Agents Ordinance, among other security laws, persisted.

Enemy agents Ordinance

  • Any enemy agent or, with an intent to aid the enemy, conspires with any other person to any act which is designed or likely to give assistance to the enemy or to impede the military or air operations of Indian forces is punishable under the ordinance.
  • The punishment includes death or rigorous imprisonment for life or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Founder of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Maqbool Bhat, hanged in Tihar Jail in 1984, charged under the Enemy Agents Ordinance.

Trials under the ordinance

  • Trials conducted by a special judge appointed by the government in consultation with the High Court.
  • The accused cannot employ a lawyer to defend herself unless the court permits it. There is no provision for appeal against the verdict.
  • The decision of the special judge can only be reviewed by a person chosen by the Government from the judges of the High Court, and the decision of that person shall be final.
  • The ordinance barred disclosure or publication of case details without government authorisation.
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