Opposition-ruled states vetoed reforms in the criminal justice system recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission on Monday despite Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s appeals for consensus to meet rising public expectations.
Only 7 chief ministers turned up for the conference; the rest sent their cabinet colleagues.
In their speeches read out in-absentia, the CMs slammed the home ministry and the administrative reforms commission for trying to cross the line.
Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura, for instance, accused the Centre of excessive interference in state affairs. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asked the central government to move a constitutional amendment if it wanted to curtail the powers of state governments rather than convening such meetings.
MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the ARC’s “impractical” proposals for changes in the institutional structure was last in a long list of changes suggested by panels in the name of fighting terror, communalism and strengthening centre-state relations. Picking up from where he left, TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s speech called the panel’s recommendations “outdated and impractical” and also asserted that they infringe powers of the state.
In response, Shinde said the conference was convened after many CMs did not respond to his letter for comments last year.