After NCTC, Guj CM now opposes RPF amendment bill

After NCTC, it was the turn of a proposal to empower RPF with police powers that has come under attack from Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: After NCTC, it was the turn of a
proposal to empower Railway Protection Force (RPF) with police
powers that has come under attack from Gujarat Chief Minister
Narendra Modi.

In a strong-worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, Modi has opposed the proposal of the Railway Ministry
to amend the RPF Act.

"The proposed amendment Bill which is intended to confer
the powers of State Police Officers to RPF is unwarranted,
violation of the constitutional spirit and blow to federal
structure of India. It also usurps power of the state
legislature," he said.

The provisions being inserted by the proposed amendment
of the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 is not in consonance
with the schemes provided under article 246 of the
Constitution of India, Modi said.

"Public order" and "police" are state subjects and
proposing an amendment on these subjects under entry 22, 30
and 93 of Union List with entry 2 of the concurrent list in
schedule VII of the Constitution of India is, not only a step
to infringe upon powers of the state but also a serious blow
to the federal structure of the Country, he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said the proposed amendment is
intended to confer "powers of the police officers", which is
otherwise provided under Indian Police Act 1861 only, to RPF.

"Recently National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is
notified unilaterally in violation of the Constitutional
provisions and many states have taken strong objections to it.

In continuation of this, a Bill to give police powers to RPF
is being mooted, which again is another attempt to curtail
state?s powers..." he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said the Railway Ministry is
attempting to advocate a theory that railway property in the
country is an independent entity and gives an impression that
it is a state within a state, thus justifying conferring of
police powers of investigation and arrest to the RPF.

A parallel has been drawn from the provisions of the
Delhi Special Police Establishment Act under which CBI draws
jurisdiction in support of such move which is "unfortunate and
shocking", he said.

"The argument put forward to confer power of a police
officer to RPF personnel is ridiculous which says that the
trains run through several states and passengers find it
difficult to lodge their complaint with GRP, as several
jurisdictions are often involved as if the RPF will not face
similar situation.

"It is well known that even the state police face similar
dilemma and often carry out investigation in many offences
cutting across state jurisdiction. Therefore, such lame
justification to take away the powers of the GRP and interfere
with the powers of the state government is grave and uncalled
for, he said in his letter and also added that such a decision
is likely to open up a Pandora?s Box, since CISF safeguarding
airports and other public sector undertakings may seek similar

"This will lead to a situation where a host of
para-military forces operating in this country, will ask for
police powers in their respective operational areas," the
Chief Minister said.


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