Centre's order smacks of authoritarianism, says Naidu

Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday joined seven Chief Ministers and non-Congress leaders in demanding withdrawal of the recent order issued by the Union Home Ministry on the power and duties of the newly constituted National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Naidu said the Government of India had vested “all-encompassing and sweeping powers in the NCTC in the Intelligence Bureau in violation of the federal spirit of the Constitution.”

His letter to the Prime Minister comes in the wake of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik apprising him earlier this week of attempts by the Centre to infringe on the federal rights of the States.

Mr. Naidu took exception to the provision in the order empowering the Director, NCTC, specified as Designated Authority under Section 2 (e) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and his officers to arrest and conduct searches without prior consultation with the States. “It is inexplicable that such an important order, having ramifications over the Centre-State relations, has been issued without consulting the State governments and political parties.”

The order, he said, smacked of authoritarianism and ran contrary to the spirit of cooperative federalism enunciated in the Constitution. Asserting that the TDP always stood for cooperative federalism, he urged the Prime Minister to direct the Home Ministry to rescind the order and initiate discussion with political parties and States along with a debate in Parliament.

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