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Another report, more debate

The report of the Commission on Centre-State Relations, submitted to the government on Monday, could reopen the debate on the extent of central role under Article 355 of the Constitution in handling prolonged extremist violence and cross-border terrorism.

delhi Updated: Apr 19, 2010 23:27 IST

The report of the Commission on Centre-State Relations, submitted to the government on Monday, could reopen the debate on the extent of central role under Article 355 of the Constitution in handling prolonged extremist violence and cross-border terrorism.

Article 355 requires the Centre to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance though public order and police fall under the purview of the states. “Whatever questions were raised (on Article 355 and 356) were answered,” Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi, who headed the commission told reporters after submitting the seven-volume report to Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Two former home secretaries, Vinod Kumar Duggal and Dhirendra Singh, former CBI director Vijay Shankar and legal expert Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon were members of the commission.

The Commission is also understood to have extensively discussed the constitutional freedom under Article 19 including the freedom to speech and migration. It has also made recommendations to overhaul of the existing mechanism of centre-state consultations such as the Inter State Council that had not proven effective. Sources said the 1,400-page report had also taken note of the absence of any reference to the environment in the Constitution and backed the concept of federal offences.