NEW DELHI: To bridge the distrust between the Centre and some state governments over the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Home Ministry on Friday circulated draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to all the state Chief Ministers. The Centre has called for a meet of all chief ministers on May 5 to discuss the state’s concerns over the proposed anti-terrorism body. Non-Congress states had made it very clear that the proposed body will usurp the state’s law and order powers and cannot be accepted in its present form. The Centre is keen on resolving the issues by taking all the states into confidence. An agenda paper for the proposed meeting was also sent to the CMs. The Home Ministry in the draft SOP has listed powers and functions of the anti-terror hub standing council, represented by the Centre and all the states. The Centre has also framed SOPs for two of the most controversial sections – 3.1 and 3.2 of NCTC Office Memorandum issued by the Centre. These two sections highlight powers and duties of the NCTC. Section 3.1 says, The Director, NCTC shall be specified as the designated authority under Section 2(e) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Section 3.2 states, the officers of the operations division of the NCTC shall have the power to arrest and search under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal had opposed the Centre’s move and during the Chief Minister’s conference on internal security, slammed the Centre for encroaching on state powers and laying down a pyramidal structure through an unilateral decision.