Skip to main content

Pointed question by senior legal expert: Would Modi want armed forces special powers Act dropped?

By Our Representative
Will Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi seek to drop the current provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act – under which Central forces are stationed in several states like Manipur, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir etc. for maintaining public order – in case he comes to power in Delhi? Senior Gujarat High Court advocate Mukul Sinha has obliquely suggested that this should happen logically if one agrees with the legal objections Modi has raised to the prevention of the communal violence Bill, which is proposed to be placed in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.
Wondering if Modi would like to "repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on the ground that this law wholly violates the federal powers of these three states”, Sinha in a recent in-depth analysis (click HERE) on Modi’s opposition to the Bill has said, the revised version of the Bill says that in case the local district magistrate declares an area “disturbed and seeks the assistance of Central forces, Central Government can send armed forces to that area for maintaining public order.”
Even as saying that it is “ridiculous to expect a district magistrate to go against the state government and discharge his duties”, Sinha has accused Modi of fueling a “hypocritical debate”, Sinha says the CM has attacked the “toothless provision” to suggest that it would destroy the federal structure of the constitution. Sinha says, “Modi is shouting on top his voice that our Constitution does not permit the Centre to send forces to any state or make any law in this regard, thus questioning the legal basis of the communal violence bill”.
In fact, Sinha adds, Modi “is instigating several other state governments to oppose the bill on the ground that the law would curb the autonomous power of the state, thus dubbing it anti-federal.” He insists, “The entry no 2A of List 1 of Union list gives exclusive authority to the parliament to legislate for providing for deployment of any armed force of the Union in any state in aid of the civil power.” He adds, “Under this entry AFSPA was enacted. Under section (3) of AFSPA, if the governor of a state is of the opinion that it is necessary to use the armed forces in aid of the civil power, he or she could declare the whole or any part of such state to be a disturbed area.”
Pointing out that “under section (4), the armed forces could assume power to help the civil forces maintain public order”, Sinha insists, “Thus Modi’s claim that Centre cannot legislate or send central forces for maintaining public order in a state has no legal basis at all.” 
While not supporting the idea of Central forces directly intervening for maintaining public order in a state, as this would in fact depend on who really would be controlling the Centre, the senior advocate argues, “A far better idea would be create an independent statutory authority which should be empowered to monitor the communal situation in any part of the country and direct immediate deployment of central forces supervised by special officers under it. If the consent of the states are required to enact such a law, let consent be taken instead of rushing a toothless Bill.”
Modi in his letter to the Prime Minister opposing the Bill (for full text click HERE) had expressed “serious concerns” about its “constitutional validity, legality and efficacy.” He said, “To begin with, your government’s attempt to legislate on an issue of ‘law and order’ and ‘public order’ both of which are items in the List II (State List) of the Seventh Schedule betrays its contempt for the federal structure and the separation of powers.” 
He had added, “The Union List (List I) has 97 entries in it and you will agree that there are a whole range of issues in that list which are waiting for legislation. However, rather than addressing issues which are in its domain, the Government of India seems to be under some compulsion to encroach upon the issues in the State List. Is it because the implementation has to be done by the State Governments?”
Sinha observes, “A question that should perplex many of us, especially to those of us who understand the nuances of the Bill, is as to why Modi is opposing such a toothless piece of legislation which cannot prevent any organized violence against the minorities. Modi’s latest tweet asking all the state governments to oppose the bill despite the several amendments agreed to by UPA, exposes his fear that enactment of the law would act as a legal hurdle in the way of BJP’s future communal campaign of instigating communal violence as they did in Muzaffarnagar.”

In any case, Sinh adds, the Bill has “failed to address the fundamental reason as to how targeted violence against a particular community is carried out in a large scale. Without the active complicity of the government and its police force, no such violence can take place”, wondering, “Does the Bill give the Central government any statutory powers to reach armed forces to save the victims from the targeted violence aided and abetted by the State?”

Comments

TRENDING

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.