In a major development, Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal has granted city Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to exercise the power of detaining authority under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for three months.

In a notification dated January 10, the Lt Governor said: “Whereas the Lt Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is satisfied that it is necessary to do so; Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub section (3) of section 3, read with clause (e) of Section 2 of the National Security Act, 1980, the Lt Governor of NCT of Delhi is pleased to direct that during the period January 19, 2020 to April 18, 2020 the Commissioner of Police, Delhi may also exercise the powers of detaining authority under sub section (2) of the section 3 of the aforesaid Act.”

The notification means that the Delhi Police Commissioner now has the power to detain anybody without any case registered against him or her.

The stringent NSA allows preventive detention for months if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order.

The National Security Act was promulgated on September 23, 1980, during the Indira Gandhi government and its purpose is “to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith”.

The move comes in the wake of massive and violent protests in the national capital against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

However, the Delhi Police has said that the notification from the Lt Governor is a “routine exercise” as the LG reviews the notification after every three months.