Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

Punjab Moves Supreme Court Over BSF’s Extended Border Jurisdiction

Punjab government in its plea before the Supreme Court has said the extension of the territorial jurisdiction of the BSF (Border Security Force) encroaches upon the constitutional jurisdiction of the states.

Punjab moves SC over BSF jurisdiction. (File photo-Representational image) PTI

The Punjab government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre's decision that expanded the BSF's jurisdiction to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50-km stretch from the international border in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab, as compared to the earlier 15 km.

The state government, in its plea, has said the extension of the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) encroaches upon the constitutional jurisdiction of the states.

"It is submitted that the notification dated October 11, 2021 is ultra-vires the Constitution as it defeats the purpose of Entry 1 and 2 of List-II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution of India and encroaches upon plaintiff's plenary authority to legislate on issues which relate to or are necessary for the maintenance of public order and internal peace," the Punjab government has said.

The Union  Home Ministry had issued a notification in this context on October 11, amending a July, 2014 enabling provision for the BSF personnel and officers while they operate in the border areas.

While in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, the BSF jurisdiction was enhanced from 15 km to 50 km, in Gujarat, which shares its border with Pakistan, the limit has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km, while in Rajasthan, it has been kept unchanged at 50 km.

The issue courted controversy as Opposition-ruled Punjab and West Bengal denounced the move and the respective state assemblies moved resolutions against this decision of the Union government.

The BSF has a strength of about 2.65 lakh personnel and it was raised on December 1, 1965.

It has 192 operational battalions and is the country's largest border-guarding force, with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Assam Rifles being the other three.