Punjab moves SC against Center’s decision to extend BSF jurisdiction to 50km: The Tribune India
Tribune press service
New Delhi, December 11
The Punjab government has asked the Supreme Court to challenge the Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in the state from 15 to 50 km along the Indo-Pakistan border, saying that this went against federalism and would lead to chaos.
In its initial complaint filed under Article 131 of the Constitution, the Congress government led by Charanjit Singh Channi said: “…geographically, the state of Punjab is a small state, but has a very powerful history and, therefore, his case and his concerns are separate and no reason can justify the extension of the jurisdiction (of BSF) to the 50 kilometer belt.
Noting that more than 80% of the areas of border districts and all major cities, including all Punjab district headquarters, would fall under the jurisdiction of the BSF, the Punjab government argued that the decision of the MHA ” is likely to cause unrest among the people, including the peasantry who have to cross the corrupt wire to cultivate their lands along the border”.
I commend Punjab and its legal team for being the 1st to go to the Honorable Supreme Court by filing an original complaint challenging the OSB Jurisdiction Extension Notification.
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) December 11, 2021
Claiming that this can lead to chaos and conflict in law enforcement offences’ trials, the Punjab government has urged the Supreme Court to suspend the 11 October 2021 notice from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) .
“The original complaint filed by the Punjab government was considered on Friday by a registry court which requested the Attorney General to respond to it and released the case for hearing after four weeks,” the Tribune told the Tribune. Advocate General of Punjab, DS Patwalia.
After the Center filed the response, the original complaint filed under Section 131 of the Constitution would be entered in court for hearing.
While the MHA notification extended the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 to 50 km in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, it reduced it from 80 to 50 km in Gujarat. In Rajasthan, the limit remained unchanged at 50 km.
The Punjab government called the MHA’s decision a “unilateral statement”, without consulting the state and without conducting a consultative process.
Arguing that Punjab’s concerns are “totally different and distinct” from the geography and concerns of other border states and union territories, the Punjab government has complained that densely populated areas of the state are now included within the jurisdiction of BSF.
“In the case of Gujarat, most of the area is in Kutch and saline swamps, whereas the areas of the state of Rajasthan are desert land, which only allows sparse vegetation to maintain a low population in the affected area to which BSF’s jurisdiction has been extended,” he said.
“In the case of Punjab, the region is very fertile, heavily populated and covers most of the physical areas that are part of the border districts of Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Fazilka, etc. “, he said.
He attacked the notification on the ground that it ” defeats the purpose of Entries 1 and 2 of List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution of India and encroaches on the full power of the Applicant to legislate on matters related or necessary for the maintenance of public order and internal peace”.
Under Entries 1 and 2 of List II (List of States) of Schedule 7 of the Constitution, “public order” and “police” are listed as subjects on which the States are empowered to make laws and to exercise executive powers.
“To this extent, Defendant (MHA) has departed from the principle of federalism inasmuch as Defendant has no power to make laws in respect of the matters enumerated in List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution from India.