Parliament recently passed the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 2020 (Act 1030) to replace the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act 526).
The Act has created a security council for each region and district to operate as committees of the Council and perform in their respective regions and districts functions determined by the Council. Specifically, the regional and district security councils are to provide early warning signals of security threats to the Government and take appropriate measures to ensure peace in conflict areas. The district and regional security councils must also ensure peacebuilding and the unity and stability of the region/district and take immediate steps to ensure law and order.
The Bureau of National Investigations, now known as the National Intelligence Bureau, and the Research Department, which existed before the coming into force of this Act, continue as the Internal and External Intelligence Agencies of the State respectively under the supervision of the National Security Council. An intelligence agency employee may apply to a judge, the chairperson of a tribunal or a police superintendent for a warrant to enable the agency to perform its functions.
It is expected that the implementation of this Act will support Government’s continuing efforts to tackle emerging global security challenges such as cybercrime and terrorism.