In a written reply to Lok Sabha, MHA stated that extension of BSF jurisdiction would result in better and more effective control on trans-border crimes.
On the second day of the Parliament Winter Session, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that the extension of the Border Security Force’s (BSF) territorial jurisdiction to 50 km from the current limit of 15 km would result in better and more effective control on trans-border crimes. The MHA further added that the apprehension made by the Punjab and West Bengal upon the state government’s power being trespassed is ‘ill-founded.’ On Tuesday, the ministry was responding to TMC MP Sajda Ahmed’s question asking if the government was considering revoking its decision over BSF’s jurisdiction.
“The extension of territorial jurisdiction of BSF would result in better and more effective control on trans-border crimes in conjunction and co-operation with State Police. Govt of West Bengal and Govt of Punjab have expressed their apprehension that such a move encroaches upon the powers of the State Government. Their apprehension are ill-founded,” said MHA.
MHA extends BSF’s jurisdiction
On October 11, the Home Ministry issued a notification amending a July 2014 Act enabling provision for the BSF personnel and officers while they operate in the border areas. The BJP-led central government had amended the BSF Act to authorise the Force to undertake search, seizure, and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam. After the notification was issued West Bengal and Punjab governments expressed their apprehension that such a move encroaches upon the powers of the state government.
TMC Supremo and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had earlier stated that the decision was taken without the consent of the state government and the Centre’s move was an “infringement” on the rights of the state and an “attack” on the federal structure of the country. Earlier this week, Mamata Banerjee even met Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to revoke the decision.
‘BSF will never act as parallel police’: DG Pankaj Kumar Singh
The Border Security Force (BSF) would not function as a rival police force in states where the Centre has expanded its jurisdiction from 15 to 50 kilometres, according to Pankaj Kumar Singh, DG BSF. Singh clarified that the Centre recently expanded the BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 to 50 kilometres and gave it new responsibilities. He noted that its authority has only been enlarged in relation to the powers granted to it under the Passport (Entry into India) Act and the Passport Act. He said that it is for those who break border entry rules.
“I would like to make clear that in case of any operations conducted by BSF in extended jurisdiction area, the FIR will be registered in a local police station and it will be investigated by the local police station. We are not going to act as parallel police or doing an investigation, it is a misleading fact spread,” he said.