BSF jurisdiction row: Punjab govt moves SC against Centre's decision
Chandigarh, Dec 11: Charanjit Singh Channi-led Punjab government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the central government's decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) to a 50 km belt along the international border in the State.
The matter is expected to come up before a Supreme Court bench after four weeks.
The state government, in its plea, has said the extension of the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) encroaches upon the constitutional jurisdiction of the states.
"It is submitted that the notification dated October 11, 2021 is ultra-vires the Constitution as it defeats the purpose of Entry 1 and 2 of List-II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution of India and encroaches upon plaintiff's plenary authority to legislate on issues which relate to or are necessary for the maintenance of public order and internal peace," the Punjab government has said.
State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu congratulated the legal team said that the fight to retain the federal structure and autonomy of the states has begun.
"I congratulate Punjab and it's legal team to be the 1st to approach the Hon'ble Supreme Court by filing an original suit challenging the notification extending the BSF jurisdiction," Sidhu tweeted.
I congratulate Punjab and it’s legal team to be the 1st to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court by filing an original suit challenging the notification extending the BSF jurisdiction.— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) December 11, 2021
"The fight to retain the principles embodied in the constitution i.e. to retain the federal structure and autonomy of the states has begun ... Notice issued to the centre to respond," he added.
Last month, the Centre had amended the BSF Act authorising the guarding force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
While in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, the BSF jurisdiction was enhanced from 15 km to 50 km, in Gujarat, which shares its border with Pakistan, the limit has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km, while in Rajasthan, it has been kept unchanged at 50 km.
The issue courted controversy as Opposition-ruled Punjab and West Bengal denounced the move and the respective state assemblies moved resolutions against this decision of the Union government.
The BSF has a strength of about 2.65 lakh personnel and it was raised on December 1, 1965.
It has 192 operational battalions and is the country's largest border-guarding force, with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Assam Rifles being the other three.