M A I N   N E W S

States reject Centre’s control over policing
Tribune News Service

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde with Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde with Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna. Tribune photo

New Delhi, April 15
States rejected the idea of having Central agencies probe terror-related cases or organised crime, once again showing displeasure at the concept of Central control over policing in states at a rather poorly-attended Chief Minister’s conference here today.

The conference was conducted by the Home Ministry to discuss the recommendations of the fifth report of the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC). The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has been under fire, stems from the same ARC report.

Representatives of Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura and Bihar were among those who rejected the ARC recommendations, saying they “seriously infringe” upon the powers to states guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Chief Ministers’ views were sought on whether offences such as terrorism and organised crime could be treated as federal crimes. States were asked for their comments on each of the 152 recommendations related to state governments. The ARC report was submitted to the government in June 2007.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the states to comment on the ARC recommendation to re-examine certain offences that have inter-state or national ramifications and include them in a new federal law for probe by Central agencies.

Only 7 CMs attend conference

Only seven CMs were present at Monday’s conference: Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Vijay Bahuguna (Uttarakhand), Manik Sarkar (Tripura), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh), Mukul Sangma (Meghalaya) and Neiphiu Rio (Nagaland). All others sent their representatives.

The ARC had said: “Offences that may be included in this category are organised crime, terrorism, acts threatening national security, trafficking in arms or human beings, sedition, major crimes with inter-state ramifications, assassination of major public figures and serious economic offences.”

Right now, there is no definition of “federal crime” in the Indian Penal Code. The Centre had also sought to ask the states if Central forces could be deployed in case of major public order problems that may lead to breakdown of constitutional machinery in state.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who represented the state at the meeting, strongly opposed the ARC recommendations. Terming it “an encroachment upon the authority of state governments”, Sukhbir rejected the move. He said “such encroachments would not only harm policing, but also harm national interest in general”.

Jayalalithaa did not attend the meeting, but set across her speech. "I wish to once again underscore the fact that public order is a state subject under the Constitution and that the recommendations of the commission can at best be guidelines to facilitate better functioning. No attempt should be made to mandate or force the recommendations upon the state governments by the Union Government,” she said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also skipped the meeting and sent across a speech. He said a Constitutional amendment should rather be made if anyone thinks of curtailing the powers of state governments. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also joined issue. He rejected the proposal saying the Centre has been frequently sending impractical proposals and suggestions for changes in the institutional structure of the law and order and police.





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