IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
S.C. Agrawal, J.
1. These writ petitions and appeals raise common questions relating to the validity of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (as amended) enacted by Parliament (hereinafter referred to as 'the Central Act') and the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955 enacted by the State Legislature of Assam (hereinafter referred to as 'the State Act').
2. The Central Act was enacted in 1958 to enable certain special powers to be conferred upon the members of the armed forces in the disturbed areas in the State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. By Act 7 of 1972 and Act 69 of 1985 the Central Act was amended and it extends to the whole of the State of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The expression "disturbed area" has been defined in Section 2(b) to mean an area which is for the time being declared by notification under Section 3 to be a disturbed area. Section 3 makes provision for issuance of a notification declaring the whole or any part of State or Union Territory to which the Act is applicable to be a disturbed area. In the said provision, as originally enacted, the power to issue the notification was only conferred on the Governor of the State or the Administrator of the Union Territory. By the Amendment Act of 1972 power to issue a notification under the said provision can also be exercised by the Central Government. Under Section 4 a Commissioned Officer, Warrant Officer, Non-Commissioned Officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces has been conferred special powers in the disturbed areas in respect of matters specified in Clauses (a) to (d) of the said section. Section 5 imposes a requirement that a person arrested in exercise of the powers conferred under the Act must be handed over to the officer incharge of the nearest police station together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest. S
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