‘I share the concerns of other State Chief Ministers'
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday branded the provisions of the Home Ministry's order on National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as those smacking of a tendency to abrogate power with no attendant responsibility.
The Chief Minister, in a letter to the Prime Minister, referred essentially to broad provisions concerning the NCTC — the power to arrest, the power to search, the power to set up Inter-State Intelligence Support Teams and the power to seek information from any agency.
The letter was in response to an office memorandum of the Home Ministry of February 3, referring to the setting up of NCTC under the Intelligence Bureau from March 1.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said the power to arrest and seize, vested with the Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry and the State Home Secretary, was now sought to be transferred to IB officers in the NCTC. “This is highly objectionable and can be misused to suit ends that are motivated by reasons other than fighting terror. Moreover, setting up of inter-State intelligence teams is tantamount to usurping legitimate rights of the States.”
The Chief Minister noted that the State could pride itself on an excellent track record with regard to counter-terror measures. Her government had always taken a firm stand vis-a-vis terrorist organisations, she pointed out.
She adverted to her “strong commitment” to supporting all measures and efforts taken to strengthen the unity and integrity of the country and for upholding its sovereignty.
“I share the concerns of other State Chief Ministers who have expressed reservations against the attitude of certain Ministries in the Government of India acting in a high-handed manner without due consultation with the States. Matters of Public Order and Police are in the State List of the Constitution of India and is it unreasonable to expect that when a major initiative such as a national counter-terrorism mechanism is sought to be established, the States should be taken into confidence?”