SC to hear Centre’s plea on withdrawal of troops from Darjeeling, Kalimpong for Gujarat, Himachal polls
The appeal was mentioned before a bench led by Justice J Chelameswar who said the forces were required to be moved to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, which will hold elections in December and November, while some were to be stationed at border areas to strengthen internal security.india Updated: Oct 25, 2017 19:28 IST
The Centre moved the Supreme Court Wednesday against Calcutta high court’s order restraining it from withdrawing the central police forces deployed in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal, which witnessed violent protests over demand for separate Gorkhaland.
The appeal was mentioned before a bench led by Justice J Chelameswar who said the forces were required to be moved to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, which will hold elections in December and November, while some were to be stationed at border areas to strengthen internal security.
Justice Chelameswar agreed to hear the government on October 27.
Centre’s advocate Wasim Qadri said the high court had on October 17 stopped the Centre from withdrawing seven of 15 companies, which were sent to the regions in an emergency after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called for a strike to meet their political demands.
The HC order came on Mamata Banerjee government’s plea following Centre’s refusal to extend the time to let the troops remain deployed in the two districts. In a letter written to the Union of India, West Bengal had sought extension of deployment till December 25. The request was, however, declined. The HC had stopped the withdrawal till October 27.
Stressing the need for troops outside the state, the Centre claimed in its appeal that the situation has improved in the two districts after the GJM called off its 104-day-old strike on September 2. An assessment done on the basis of inputs received from other agencies revealed the same.
The Centre also questioned the HC order on the ground it interfered with an executive decision, which was based upon an objective assessment of the fact situation. “... the moot question requiring examination of this court is as to whether it would be within the domain of the court to take a judicial decision on a subject which can be addressed only by way of an administrative decision,” read the petition.
The Centre wants the top court to determine whether the HC could act as an appellate court and exercise its power of judicial review in matters affecting the policy, requiring technical expertise.
“Whether the policy decision should not be left to the government as it alone can adopt which policy should be adopted after considering all the points from different angles and whether Court is appropriate forum for such investigation?” said the Centre, posing the legal question to the SC.