Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems Amendment Bill, 2022:

The WMD and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, commonly known as the WMD Act, was enacted in July 2005 with the primary objective of providing an integrated and overarching legislation on the prohibition of unlawful activities related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These include chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, as well as their delivery systems and related materials, equipment, and technologies. The Act also institutes penalties for contravention of these provisions, including imprisonment for a term of not less than five years (extendable for life) and fines.

The WMD Act was passed to meet the international obligations outlined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 of 2004, which requires all states to adopt measures to prevent the proliferation of WMD. The Act applies to the entire territory of India and applies to Indian citizens and companies, as well as foreign nationals and entities operating within the country.

Amendment to the WMD Act

In 2021, the WMD Act was amended to expand its scope and give the central government additional powers to crack down on financial sources suspected of financing activities related to WMD and their delivery systems. The amendment prohibits the financing of any activity related to WMD and their delivery systems, in addition to the already existing prohibition on the unlawful manufacture, transport, or transfer of these weapons.

The amendment also gives the central government the authority to investigate and seize any assets, including financial assets, suspected of being used to finance WMD-related activities. This includes the power to freeze or seize bank accounts, shares, securities, and other financial instruments. The central government also has the authority to issue orders prohibiting the transfer or disposal of any assets that are suspected of being used for the financing of WMD activities.

Enforcement of the WMD Act

The WMD Act is enforced by the central government through various agencies, including the Department of Atomic Energy, the Department of Biotechnology, the Department of Chemical and Petrochemicals, and the Department of Science and Technology. These agencies are responsible for regulating and monitoring activities related to WMD and their delivery systems, including the import and export of materials, equipment, and technologies that could be used for the development of these weapons.

In addition to these agencies, the WMD Act also allows for the establishment of a National Authority for the Prohibition of WMD and Their Delivery Systems. This authority is responsible for implementing the provisions of the Act and coordinating the efforts of the various agencies involved in its enforcement.

Penalties for Contravention of the WMD Act

The WMD Act imposes severe penalties for the contravention of its provisions, including imprisonment for a term of not less than five years (extendable for life) and fines. The Act also provides for the confiscation of any assets, including financial assets, that have been used in the commission of an offense under the Act.

In addition to these penalties, the Act also allows for the prosecution of legal entities, such as companies, for offenses committed under the Act. This means that not only individuals, but also companies can be held liable for the unlawful manufacture, transport, or transfer of WMD and their delivery systems.

The WMD and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in India. The Act applies to the entire territory of India and applies to Indian citizens and companies, as well as foreign nationals and entities operating within the country.

Written by princy

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