New Delhi: Pitching for the scrapping of the National
Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee Saturday said there was no need for a central anti-terror
body while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded an immediate
withdrawal of the order for creation of the NCTC.
Speaking at a meeting of chief ministers here, Banerjee said: "The
setting up of an institution like NCTC with the proposed powers of
arrest, search and seizure greatly upsets the constitutionally
mandated federal structure of the country by infringing upon the
power of the states. It will only increase the trust deficit
between the central government and the states.
"I also find no need for a central agency to be declared a
designated authority in a state under the Unlawful Activities
(Prevention) Activities Act unless the concerned state government
specifically requests the central government for such
declaration," she said.
Banerjee demanded the withdrawal of the order for the constitution
of NCTC, saying police functions should remain under the
prerogative of the states as enshrined in the constitution.
The well-conceived equilibrium of powers and responsibilities
between the centre and state should not be disturbed under any
circumstances, she said.
According to Banerjee, the primary role of the central government
should be to provide funds and other logistical support to the
states to equip them with modernised police forces and strong
She suggested that the prime minister might hold meetings with the
chief ministers periodically to review the internal security
situation in the country so that the central government and states
could jointly work out broad-based strategies to tackle terrorism.
Calling it unfortunate, she said that in utter disregard of the
federal principles, the NCTC was set up by an executive order of
the home ministry without adequate consultations with states.
"There is a danger of grave misuse of the powers of arrest, search
and seizures given to the Intelligence Bureau through NCTC. A
central intelligence agency with unbridled powers of search,
seizure and arrest, without the consent or knowledge of the state
governments is not acceptable to us," she added.
Demanding an immediate withdrawal of the
order for creation of the NCTC, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
Saturday said the notification suffered from several legal and
At the chief ministers' meeting called by the central government,
Nitish Kumar said if the union government deemed it prudent to
form an outfit like NCTC within the Intelligence Bureau, then it
must be given powers to investigate cases.
"I am of the considered opinion that the order issued regarding
constitution of NCTC should be withdrawn immediately," he said.
"Further, any such outfit, if it has to be created at all, must be
set up through the legislation of parliament. In any case,
whatever is sought to be done must be within the framework of our
Indian legal jurisprudence in a substantive way and not as
subterfuge," he said.
He asked the central government to pay attention to the states'
genuine concerns and address the issues raised by them.
The chief minister said he was disturbed to see the principle of
federalism being violated in the course of the central
government's anti-terrorism onslaught.
He said if such powers were given to any intelligence agency, it
will "remain prone to misuse" against political rivals.