States have a right to protest NCTC: Jaitley

This is one of the many instances which show that statecraft and statesmanship have become alien to this government.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2012 12:35 am

Charging the UPA of falling short in striking a fine balance between the states and the Centre,the BJP on Tuesday demanded that the decision to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) through an executive order on March 1 be kept in abeyance as it was violative the federal structure of the country’s polity.

Backing the strong reservations expressed by several states on the issue,Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Centre’s act of pushing such a proposal without consulting the states spoke volumes of their approach and attitude.

“This is one of the many instances which show that statecraft and statesmanship have become alien to this government. We are not a union of states. We have a federal structure. If the government questions this,the states have a right to protest,” he said.

Contending that the fight against terror has to be fought effectively,Jaitley said this cannot be done unless the Centre joined hands with the states. “Fight against terrorism must coexist with federalism. There is no contradiction between the two,” he said. He conceded that cross-border terrorism,interstate terrorism and national intelligence gathering were areas in which the responsibility lay with the Centre.

The BJP leader,however,pointed out that public order and police powers are functions of the states in a federal setup and the Centre could not usurp those functions. “The Centre cannot substitute police powers of the states. It can only aid and assist. The Centre cannot take away from the states their power of search and seizure,and the power to arrest,” Jaitley said. Citing the examples of TADA and POTA,he said they were central laws but the implementation of cases related to these Acts was always done by the states.

Accusing the UPA of not having a good track record in fighting terror,he said that even while fighting the Maoists,the Centre eventually sought to abdicate its responsibility by saying it was a law and order issue and hence a problem that should be handled by the states themselves.

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