Punjab govt moves SC against Centre’s decision to extend BSF jurisdiction


Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Saturday moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to extend the Border Security Force’s jurisdiction in the state. The Congress-ruled Punjab is the first state to challenge the decision in court.

In October, the Centre had extended the BSF’s area of operation in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam to 50 kilometres from the international border, from the earlier jurisdiction of 15 kilometres.

The Centre claimed that the move would help control trans-border crimes. However, Punjab and West Bengal governments have said that the order was an encroachment into their powers.

Punjab Advocate General DS Patwalia today informed that the state has filed a suit in the Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution of India. Article 131 provides the apex court powers to adjudicate on disputes between two or more states, or states and the Centre.

The Centre has been asked to respond in 28 days after which it will be listed before the bench, said Patwalia.

The Punjab government, in its plea, has mentioned that the Centre took the decision to extend the BSF’s jurisdiction without consulting it.

“This amounts to encroachment upon the powers and the role of the plaintiff-state of Punjab by the Centre, inasmuch as more than 80% of the border districts, all the major towns and cities including all the district headquarters of Punjab fell within 50 km area from the Indo-Pakistan international border,” the Punjab government said.

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu congratulated the state government on the move and said that the fight to retain the principles embodied in the constitution to retain the federal structure and autonomy of the states has begun.

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