After successfully mobilising non-Congress chief ministers against the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday opposed the railway ministry's proposal for special powers to the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a day after the Centre put the March 1 operationalisation of the NCTC on hold, Patnaik said the proposed amendment to the RPF Act, 1957 was in conflict with Article 246 of the Constitution.
Later in the evening, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa also shot off a letter to the PM saying, "The proposed amendments to the RPF Act would violate the Indian Police Act of 1861."
Jayalalithaa is the third CM, after Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik, to oppose the amendment.
Patnaik in his letter said the amendment, "understood" to have been approved by the union home and law ministries, seeking to provide powers of police officers to RPF personnel to conduct investigations and make arrests was in itself violative of the provisions of the Indian Police Act 1861.
“I am constrained to point out that the government of India is bent upon taking one step after another that are in conflict with the federal structure of the country and are against the interest of the people of the nation. The ministry of railways may be asked not to proceed further with this matter,” Patnaik said in his letter.
Patnaik said public order and police were state subjects and taking up any amendment without consulting states was an infringement of the powers of the state. “Railway tracks are not outside the jurisdiction of the states through which they run in,” he said.