Punjab approach Supreme Court on BSF jurisdiction in the state

Tags: National News

  • Punjab has filed a suit in the Supreme Court against the Centre’s move to increase the limits of jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km along the India-Pakistan International Border.
  • The State has filed an original suit challenging the October 11,2021 notification issued by the Union Home Ministry extending the Central force’s area of jurisdiction, calling it a breach of the federal form of governance under the Constitution.
  • The border area with Pakistan and Bangladesh is guarded by Border Security Forces(BSF)

Background to the Issue 

  • October 11 ,2021, the Centre invoked  section 139(1) (i) of the BSF Act, 1968  to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of the existing 15 kms, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
  • In Gujarat, which shares a border with Pakistan, the same limit was reduced from 80 km to 50 km, and in Rajasthan, it was kept unchanged at 50 km.
  • Section 139 (1) (i) of the BSF Act, 1968 empowers the Central Government  to confer powers and duties on members of the force in respect  of any Central Acts for   the purposes specified therein. 
  • According to the Central government it was done for  better and more effective control on trans-border crimes in conjunction and co-operation with the State Police.
  •  Later the BSF chief Pankaj Kumar said that the jurisdiction of the BSF was increased in these states to curb illegal infiltration from Bangladesh which was      causing a demographic change in the border district of these States creating a security threat to these states and to India.
  • However, Punjab and West Bengal governments have  opposed the move and said that it was an encroachment on state rights by the central government.
  • The Punjab legislative Assembly passed a resolution against this move of the center .

Supreme Court’s Original Jurisdiction 

There are certain type of cases which only the Supreme Court of India can hear ,which is called the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court 

Article 131 of the Indian Constitution provides for the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Only the Supreme Court shall hear the following cases :

(a)  any dispute between the Government of India and one or more States; or

(b)  dispute between the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other States on the other; or

(c) dispute between two or more States, if  the dispute involves any question of law or fact.

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