West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been silent so far on the summoning of three IPS officers, responsible for providing security cover to BJP national president JP Nadda’s convoy in Kolkata, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), spoke up on the issue on Thursday.
The officers, who were summoned to New Delhi and issued central deputation orders, stayed put after the Bengal government said it won’t be able to release them for new postings.
Training her guns at the Centre, she dubbed the move as a deliberate attempt to encroach on matters pertaining to the state’s jurisdiction.
GoI’s order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State’s objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954. (1/3)
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 17, 2020
In a stinging Twitter post, the chief minister said, “GoI’s order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State’s objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954.”
“This act is nothing but a deliberate attempt to encroach upon State’s jurisdiction & demoralise the serving officers in WB. This move, particularly before the elections is against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It’s unconstitutional & completely unacceptable!” the CM wrote.
Several cars in Nadda’s motorcade were stoned allegedly by workers aligned to the ruling Trinamool Congress on December 10. The incident took place while the BJP president, accompanied by several top party leaders, was headed to a public meeting at Diamond Harbour, on the outskirts of Kolkata.
A day later, the MHA directed the three IPS officers– IG (South Bengal Range) Rajiv Mishra, DIG (Presidency Range) Praveen Tripathi, and SP (North 24-Parganas) Bholanath Pandey – to report for central deputation.
The Bengal government wrote back to the MHA, saying the officers won’t be released for central postings.
The CM further said that her government will not allow the Centre attempt to control state machinery “by proxy”.
“West Bengal is not going to cow-down in front of expansionist undemocratic forces,” Mamata tweeted.
A senior officer in the state home department had been quoted as saying, “We already have low numbers of IPS officers in the state. So, we wrote back (to the MHA) saying that it will not be possible to adhere to their request and release the officers.”
As per convention and the rulebook, IPS officers are sent on deputation to the Centre with the state’s consent. The Centre does not have the authority to summon any IPS officer for central duty.
However, Rule 6 of the IPS Cadre Rules, 1954 says that in the event of disagreement between Centre and state over an officer’s deputation with the Government of India, the will of the Centre prevails.
Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee had also raised objections to the Centre’s move, accusing Union Home Minister Amit Shah of “indirectly trying to impose emergency in Bengal” and “terrorising IAS and IPS officers of the state”.
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