After opposing the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC),Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has now objected to the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Force Act,1957,which seeks to do away with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and assign policing powers to the RPF.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Modi has said that the proposed move is a violation of the federal structure of the Constitution as policing is the right of the states.
The proposed amendment Bill,which is intended to confer the powers of State Police Officers to Railway Protection Force (RPF) is unwarranted,violation of the constitutional spirit and blow to federal structure of India. It usurps power of the state legislature, he has written.
The Chief Minister has said that public order and police are state subjects and proposing an amendment on these subjects under entry 22,30 and 93 of the Union List with entry 2 of the concurrent list in schedule VII of the Constitution was a serious blow to the federal structure of the country.
He added that the proposed provisions were violative of the existing Indian Police Act and State Police Act such as Bombay Police Act,1956,prevailing in the state.
Railways is attempting to advocate a theory that railway property 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 the CBI draws jurisdiction in support of such move which is unfortunate and shocking, he has written.
The Railway Ministry is held by the Trinamool Congress,whose chief Mamata Banerjee was here on Wednesday to meet the Prime Minister and raise objections to the NCTC. Asked about the RPF amendment Bill,Banerjee said that RPF was not her subject.
Indian Railways pays half the salary of the GRP,which is a force constituted by state police personnel. Railways had moved a Cabinet note for the proposed amendment last year. The RPF is a paramilitary force.