THREAT TO INDIA’S FEDERAL STRUCTURE: WE FULLY ENDORSE WHAT ORISSA CM HAS WRITTEN TO PRIME MINISTER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

History will remember Dr. Manmohan Singh as the person who has rendered the national resolve of India enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution inconsequential. Yet he is heading a government that is trying to damage the federal structure of India as is marked in Office Memorandum of February 3, 2012 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs that superimposes a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the State Governments.

It has the mischief of causing a permanent diminution of the primordial role of the Provincial Government in policing the State inasmuch as at Para 3.1, the OM empowers the Director of NCTC to act as the ‘designated authority’ under Section 2(e) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which would vest in him the power to search and arrest any citizen of the State u/S 3A of the UAP Act behind the back of its Government. It is further set to subdue the State Governments as, under Paras 3.5 and 5.1, it requires “all authorities” that include all functionaries of the State to provide all information and documentary data including confidential reports as would be required by NCTC even though thereby privileges of the provincial governments would be ripped up to the detriment of dignity of State administration.

Even as we have no hesitation in saying that the UAP Act is being misused by the State governments, specifically by the Government of Orissa, to settle scores with political opponents and disadvantageous journalists, we have no problem in foreseeing that the NCTC mischief would pose more severe threat to the federal entity of the States if the provisions as hinted to above are not dropped. The people will be doubly disadvantaged as it can never be said for certain that the NCTC would never misuse the UAP Act.

This makes us fully endorse Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik when he requests the Prime Minister “to review this order which has draconian overtones”. In a timely letter to the PM on Monday, Patnaik has asked, “Would it not have been advisable for the Union Government to have prior consultation with the State Governments?” To him, “this clearly seems to be an infringement on the federal structure of States as enshrined in the Constitution of India”.

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