New Delhi: The government on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to ban funding of weapons of mass destruction and also empower the Centre to freeze, seize or attach financial assets and economic resources of people engaged in such activities.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar introduced the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill that also seeks to fulfill India’s international obligations in this regard. The bill was introduced amid din by opposition members over the repeated fuel price hikes.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, passed in 2005, only banned manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.
“In recent times, regulations relating to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems by international organisations have expanded,” Jaishankar said in the statements of objects and reasons of the bill.
He noted that the United Nations Security Council’s targeted financial sanctions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force have mandated against financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
“In view of the above, there is a need to amend the said Act to provide against the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems so as to fulfill our international obligations,” Jaishankar said.
The Bill seeks to insert a new Section 12A in the existing law which states that “no person shall finance any activity which is prohibited under this Act, or under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1947 or any other relevant Act for the time being in force, or by an order issued under any such Act, in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.” It also aims to give the government the powers to “freeze, seize or attach funds or other financial assets or economic resources owned or controlled, wholly or jointly, directly or indirectly, by such person; or held by or on behalf of, or at the direction of, such person; or derived or generated from the funds or other assets owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such person”.
The amendment further proposes to “prohibit any person from making funds, financial assets or economic resources or related services available for the benefit of persons related to any activity which is prohibited under this Act”.
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