After NCTC, Jaya, Patnaik now oppose RPF Act amendment

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 28, 2012 19:03 hrs

Chennai: After the launch of NCTC was put on hold due to protests by non-Congress ruled states, Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Orissa on Tuesday trained their guns again at the Centre by opposing the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act.

Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik joined their Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi in asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to instruct Railway Ministry not to proceed with the move.

They expressed their concern over the move in separate letters to the Prime Minister, alleging that the Centre is trying take away the power of the states.

The AIADMK supremo described the proposal as "another attempt by the Centre to take away the rights of the powers of states".

"I, request you to issue suitable instructions to the Ministry of Railways not to proceed with the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Act - 1957", she said in a letter addressed to Singh.

The proposal was "yet another blatant attempt by the Government to usurp the powers of the states", she said, adding, "public order and police are state subjects and proposing an amendment with regard to these is clearly an attempt to encroach upon the powers of the states."

"It would be lethal to the federal structure of the nation", she added.

In his letter, Patnaik, who led the charge against the Centre by non-Congress chief ministers in their opposition to NCTC, said the proposed amendment to the RPF Act is in conflict with Article 246 of the Constitution of India.

Stating that public order and police were state subjects, Patnaik said that taking up amendment on these without consulting state governments was an infringment of their powers and against the federal structure of the Constitution.

The proposed amendment seeks to provide powers of police officers to RPF personnel, he said adding: "This in itself is violative of the provisions of the Indian Police Act 1861.

Modi said the amendment usurped power of the state legislature and is unwarranted.

Under attack from several non-Congress chief ministers, the Centre yesterday put on hold the launching of the NCTC which was scheduled to be operational from March one.

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