RPF amendment attempt to usurp states’ powers: Jayalalithaa

February 29th, 2012 - 12:32 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chennai, Feb 28 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Tuesday expressed opposition to the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act, terming it one more attempt by the central government to usurp the powers of the states.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the text of which was released to the media, Jayalalithaa said: “..the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957, is yet another blatant attempt by the Government of India to usurp the powers of the States, as this is not in consonance with Article 246 of the Constitution of India.”

Noting that public order and police are state subjects and proposing an amendment to these subjects “is clearly an attempt to encroach upon the powers of the States and will be lethal to the federal structure of the nation”.

The railway ministry has proposed amendment to the RPF Act, 1957, to empower the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to deal with passenger related offences; declare RPF posts (units) as police stations; empower RPF officers to exercise the powers of an officer in charge of a police station; and move from a three-tier railway security system — RPF, Government Railway Police (GRP) and District Police)– to a two-tier security system (RPF and District Police).

According to Jayalalithaa, if the amendment is carried out, railway stations would become islands of central government authority within the territorial jurisdiction of states and a time may come when the district police may be barred from entering the railway stations.

She requested the prime minister to ask the railway ministry not to proceed with the proposed amendment.

Besides Jayalalithaa, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also has written to the prime minister, protesting the proposed amendment.

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