New Delhi: After National Counter-Terrorism Centre proposal some of the Chief Ministers are now gearing up to block another initiative of the Union government, the RPF Amendment Act.
In what can be another headache for the UPA, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that the latest proposal goes “against the federal structure of the constitution.”
This was exactly the same argument put forward by a group of CMs when they had made their apprehensions clear on the NCTC. Chief Ministers of states like Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Tripura had opposed the creation of NCTC which was expected to be operational on March 1.
The proposal to empower RPF with police powers has come under attack from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi too.
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.
Not only Modi and Patnaik but Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal has also raised his objections on the said proposal saying that the move is "infringement of rights of states".
"The union government is trying to impose its decisions on states in clandestine and systematic manner to curb their rights," Dhumal said.
With PTI inputs