Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Bhubaneswar: A day after the Centre put on hold the launching of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) following protests by several non-Congress States including Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the move to amend the existing Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act to give the central paramilitary force full jurisdiction over crimes at stations and on trains.

“The proposed amendment to the RPF Act is in conflict with the Article 246 of the Constitution of India,” Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked him to tell the Railway Ministry not to proceed further with the controversial amendment.

Pointing out that “public order” and “police” are State subjects, Patnaik said that “Taking up amendment on these subjects without consulting State Governments will infringe on their powers and is also against the federal structure of the Constitution. The proposed amendment seeks to provide powers of police officers to RPF personnel, which violates the provisions of the Indian Police Act, 1861.”

Questioning the justification being advanced by the Ministry of Railways for conferring powers of police officers on the RPF personnel so that they can conduct investigation and make arrests, Patnaik said “It is not at all convincing.”

Arguing that the railway tracks were not outside the jurisdiction of the States through which they run in, Patnaik said that similar arguments could be advanced by other establishments such as the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who were in-charge of protection of airports, industrial undertakings and other vital installations.

Patnaik had earlier this month opposed the proposed anti-terror agency, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), in its present format and said that it will infringe on the rights of states and affect the country’s federal structure. Following this ten non-Congress Chief Ministers had opposed the the Centre on Monday put on hold the launching of the NCTC which was scheduled to be functional from March one.