Amending the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act
On April 5, 2022, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 was introduced in the Lok Sabha which was passed the next day. The Bill amends the WMD and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, transport, or transfer of WMD (chemical, biological and nuclear weapons) and their means of delivery. It is popularly referred to as the WMD Act.
What was the purpose of the original WMD Act?
- Integrated legislation- Its primary objective was to provide an integrated and overarching legislation on prohibiting unlawful activities in relation to all three types of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials, equipment and technologies.
- Penalties- It instituted penalties for contravention of these provisions such as imprisonment for a term not less than five years (extendable for life) as well as fines.
- UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 -The Act was passed to meet an international obligation enforced by the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 of 2004.