In a boost to the opposition, Parliament’s standing committee for home on Tuesday recommended to the government that it put on hold the creation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) till consultations were held with the states.
At the meeting of the committee, several opposition members quizzed Union home secretary RK Singh as to how the the Centre could unilaterally decide on setting up the counter-terrorism body without consulting states.
Acting on their plea, committee chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the panel secretariat to write to the home ministry, recommending that the decision be put on hold till discussions were held with the states.
Not opposing the move, Congress members Navin Jindal and Rajagopal said they too favoured “wider” discussion but wanted the exercise to be completed before March 1.
Naidu left it to the government to decide when it wished to complete the “discussions” with the states on the issue, parliamentary sources said.
Among the members, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress, which is still an ally of the United Progressive Alliance, SS Ahluwalia (Bharatiya Janata Party), Jay Panda (Biju Janata Dal) V Maitreyan (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and D Raja (Communist Party of India) said the NCTC “impinges” on the powers of states and would affect the federal structure.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani, who is a member of the panel, said 11 chief ministers had opposed the proposal, which only underscored the need for proper consultations as “everyone wants to combat terrorism”.
The members said the chief ministers should have been consulted before the decision to set up the body was taken and “it was not too late” to hold consultations now. “When everyone wants to fight terrorism, there should be no room for mistrust,” AIADMK’s Maitreyan is said to have told the panel.