Sunday, May 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

GoM for more powers to Centre
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
While several states, including Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir have been demanding greater autonomy to states, the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to review the National Security System has recommended more powers to the Centre, especially for internal security.

The GoM headed by Union Home Minister L. K. Advani in its report submitted to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has emphasised the need to allow the deployment of Central forces without the concurrence of state governments as the Union Government’s ability to deal with situations caused by grave threats to internal security has eroded over the years.

The report, which was released to the press recently, has suggested that legislation empowering the Centre to deploy its forces in the states should be introduced to help the Centre discharge its obligation.

Suggesting the ways for strengthening the Centre, the GoM has recommended that “one way to do this is to strengthen the emergency provisions under Articles 352 and 359. The other way is to exploit the vast untapped constitutional potential between the power to issue directives under Articles 256 and 257 on the one hand and the power to proclaim Emergency under Article 352 on the other.”

“The source of this potential lies in Article 355 which casts upon the Union the responsibility to protect every state against internal disturbances and to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,” it says.

However, it categorically states that with regard to the proposed legislation under Article 355, the matter be taken to the Inter-State Council (ISC) and a small group of members of the council be constituted to examine the issue in all its dimensions.

It has also recommended that the matter be discussed with the leadership of all political parties to generate consensus and simultaneously a comprehensive reference may be made to the Law Commission on the question of strengthening Articles 352 and 359 without compromising on the spirit of democracy and federalism which guides the Constitution.

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