Centre's ‘unilateral decision' criticised

Concerns over the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre were expressed by Opposition members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee related to the Home Ministry which met here on Tuesday.

It is learnt that several members were unrelenting in their questioning of Home Secretary R.K. Singh and criticised the Centre's “unilateral” decision.

The Home Secretary is learnt to have told the panel that the Centre was within its legislative competence to set up the NCTC under the existing provisions of law.

Informed sources said the Opposition members told committee chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) that he should recommend to the Home Ministry that the proposal be put on hold. Members of the BJP, BJD and the Left said the move was an “infringement” on the States' rights and an assault on the principles of federalism. The sources said Congress members favoured wider consultations.

Meanwhile, striking a conciliatory note, the BJP has suggested that the proposal be put in ‘abeyance' pending consultations with the States.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley argued that the centre undermined the federal structure of the Constitution.

He said public order and police powers formed part of the State list. He maintained that the fight against terrorism must co-exist with federalism.

He asserted that the Centre could not substitute police powers of the States and it could only aid and assist.

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