The Congress-led Chhattisgarh government has approached the Supreme Court demanding the declaration of NIA Act of 2008 as unconstitutional. The Chhattisgarh government, in their plea, has argued that the NIA Act grants arbitrary powers to the Centre to deal with the terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
The suit was filed under Article 131 of the Constitution by the Chhattisgarh government which provides for the state to move directly to the Supreme Court in matters of a dispute against the Centre. The state government filed plea read: “The state respectfully submits that the NIA Act is ultra vires to the Constitution and is beyond legislative competence of Parliament since the Act empowers the defendant (Centre) to create an agency for investigation, which, notwithstanding the NIA, is carried out by state police, which is a subject matter of the state under entry 2, List 2, Schedule 7, of the Constitution.”
Interestingly, the NIA Act of 2008 was brought into force by the Congress-led UPA government at the centre to effectively grapple with the terror-related incidents across the country. The reason cited then to float the NIA Act was the gruesome attacks of 26/11 in Mumbai when 12 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists entered the city and carried out attacks and shootings, leaving 166 people dead and scores of others injured.
The National Investigation Agency Act 2008 conferred powers to the Central Government to form a National Investigation Agency (NIA) to combat terror in India. The agency acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency and is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
According to the constitution of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008, “Any officer of the Agency of, or above, the rank of Sub-Inspector may, subject to any orders which the Central Government may make in this behalf, exercise throughout India, any of the powers of the officer-in-charge of a police station in the area in which he is present for the time being and when so exercising such powers shall, subject to any such orders as aforesaid, be deemed to be an officer-in-charge of a police station discharging the functions of such an officer within the limits of his station”.
Now, the Congress-led Chhatisgarh government has stated in their plea to the apex court that the NIA Act 2008 autocratically snatches the authority of the probe authorised to local police under the constitution and grants arbitrary power to the centre. In the petition, the Chhattisgarh government has demanded the Supreme Court declare the Act as “Unconstitutional”.