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Chhattisgarh government moves Supreme Court seeking to declare NIA Act arbitrary

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

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The State of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday filed a suit in the Supreme Court for a declaration that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 gives arbitrary police powers to the Centre and remains a threat to the federal structure of governance.

The Bhupesh Baghel government said 'police' is a State power. Crimes that happen within the jurisdiction of a State comes within the investigative jurisdiction of the State Police. The Centre, through the NIA, cannot usurp the role of the State Police force investigation that happens within a State.

The Parliament enacted the NIA Act by acting beyond its legislative competence.

"The NIA Act, in its present form, not only takes away the power of conducting investigation by the plaintiff through Police but also confers unfettered discretionary and arbitrary powers on the defendant. Moreover, there are no rules governing the exercise of power which gives ample discretion to the defendant to exercise its power at any juncture without providing any reason or justification for the same," Chhattisgarh has challenged the constitutionality of the 2008 Act.

The provisions of the Act does not require the Centre to take prior consent from the State before taking over an investigation of a case in that State.

"This clearly repudiates the idea of State sovereignty as envisaged under the Constitution. The plaintiff (State of Chhattisgarh) submits that the scheme of NIA act is such that once brought in motion, it completely takes away the power of plaintiff to investigate the offences which have been categorised as scheduled offence under the NIA Act and which has been committed within the jurisdiction of the State," the suit contended.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 12:40:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chhattisgarh-government-moves-supreme-court-seeking-to-declare-nia-act-arbitrary/article30573125.ece

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