Since time immemorial, crimes against humanity had been encountered and are the greatest threat. Trying to acquire power or accomplishing an end with barbaric acts is common in today’s world of technology. The countries today, are trying their level best to tackle the exertion of crimes against humanity and terrorism is one of them.
India is a country which had confronted many inhumane terrorist attacks.
This developing country is trying hard to formulate strict laws and agencies to fathom the problem of terrorism. Going back in time, it was in 2008 when the Government of India realized the existence of some loopholes in the intelligence system of the country.
On 26th November 2008, the Financial Capital of India was targeted by the terrorist that resulted in huge loss. The government, being impressed with the intelligence system of America and British, i.e. NCTC and Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre respectively, proposed to establish a federal body to strengthen the intelligence system of India. Therefore, the idea of establishing this anti-terrorist agency came into limelight after the Mumbai attacks of 2008.
The former UPA Government along with the Finance Minister P Chidambaram initiated the idea of an independent body to counter the problem of terrorism. But, the task was never that easy to accomplish. Some of the states criticized the idea of establishing NCTC in India, as it would violate the federal structure which the Constitution promotes and they would lose many of powers which they enjoy in respect of security and intelligence development of the state. Therefore, the journey of NCTC is arduous.
NCTC stands for National Counter Terrorism Centre. It is a federal body which the Central Government is trying hard to establish to face the terrorist activities. It will work to keep a track on terrorist activities, keeping records of the terrorists including their families, keeping an eye on any uncertain happenings, the procedure for punishments and many more.
It shall work for making people and the states aware about the activities which are dangerous to the humanity. The NCTC will expand the powers of police to arrest the suspicious persons and the terrorists.
The NCTC will be a Central Body. It shall work as according to the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The head of this Federal Body will be a director who shall report the incidences and other useful information to the director of Intelligence Bureau, as working under the provisions of the bureau, and the Home Secretary.
NCTC, being operating in a federal country shall work in a fair manner keeping in mind the needs and the independence of all the states. This Anti-terrorist Agency shall be required to take prior permission of the respective state where it intends to start any investigation.
Therefore, acquiring the confidence of the states shall be a condition precedent for any investigation or operation by the NCTC. Therefore, we can infer from the draft of NCTC that the independence of the state has been kept intact.
Though packed with bunch of benefits, there is a conflict between the Centre and the State for the implementation of the provisions of NCTC. The states are inferring that their freedom to act within the boundaries would be infringed, but the Centre is in the opinion that a federal body like NCTC would be beneficial for the security of the nation and the scrutiny of the intelligence process.
The Centre states that the current intelligence agencies are already piled up with a lot of work and it is difficult for them to keep an eye over each and every minute happenings taking place in the land and about any threat taking place outside the boundary limits of the country.
The advancement of technology has have made the process of escaping the laws easy. This World Wide Web era had risen up many difficulties for the anti-terrorist agencies by widening their scope of conduct like the sleeper cells and the cybercrimes.
The states are in the opinion that the formation of NCTC would trespass on the powers of the states. The states are bestowed with the powers of arresting the prospected criminals and the terrorists along with the persons about whom the state government is suspicious about his involvement in any of the anti-national activities.
But, after the formation of the NCTC, the state’s power to investigate and arrest the criminals will be taken away by this federal body, to which the state considers infringement of the provisions of the constitution.
However, as according to the draft of the NCTC, the actions of the Centre shall not be against the sovereignty of the state. The actions of the NCTC will be in consonance with the provisions of the enactments such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which shall in turn regulate the arbitrary action related to arrest in the proposed state to be in control and shall be bound to follow the procedure as prescribed by these acts which shall include making an arrest and producing the suspect before the Magistrate of adequate jurisdiction within 24 hours of the arrest.
Therefore, it is very straight forward that the provisions of the Federal Body shall never supersede that of the other enactment through which it is governed and all the procedures of the Federal Body shall strictly be governed by the law. Thought, with all these checks on the NCTC, the state have gave their resentments.
Questions were raised about the NCTC being an unconstitutional body by which the state will be bound to surrender their powers to the centre which shall be unconstitutional. The provisions of the supreme law of the land cannot be violated.
The state accused the government for the violation of the core value of Constitution of India which uplifts the value of federalism, which divides the power between the centre and the state. But the centre proved its act as Constitutional with the provision of Constitution itself.
According to Article 355 of the Constitution it provides that it is a duty of the central government to protect every state against external aggression and the internal disturbance. The centre by fulfilling its duties can take over the matter of security under its ambit but that too under the regulation of the laws superseding it.
In a decade we have seen many state level bodies set up by respective state to encounter the problem of terrorism. These bodies are set up to work for the prevention of any unlawful activities against the humanity. The states had made an initiative to protect their land and developed the techniques and structure to counter the terrorist acts.
According to the opinion of the states, the idea of NCTC will affect their efforts to set up anti-terrorist agencies in their states. All their efforts will go futile after this Federal Body will come into power. Countering this, the Central Government has appreciated their efforts and explained the states that these efforts will help the NCTC in forming the opinions.
The state anti-terrorist bodies and the NCTC would work together giving space to each other. This will be a shared responsibility between the state and the centre. It will help them to coordinate their functions and increase the potential for the getting the best results for the country.
The plan to create a single organization to tackle terrorism was not accepted by the stakeholders as they were in favor of strengthening the existing intelligence and security system. The leaders from the opposition looked this act as a benefit for the UPA Government and not for the nation as a whole.
The existing agencies have done a lot and there is a need to uplift their level. Formation of a new system has many implications. There will be debated and discussions and the resources will be used in large quantities.
The model of NCTC was taken from America, but, the situation in India and America are different. Therefore, the opposition was in favor of altering the existing intelligence agencies. The existing ones posses’ great strength and capacities, the government should utilize them to the fullest and supply them the useful resources so that they can work the best of their capacity. This view of opposition was supported by many and somewhere they held a strong point against the infant and proposed to be newly born agency.
All the pros and cons and the details came up over the media and other such agencies and all these were unable to show a clear picture of NCTC. This was also one of the factors which were responsible for creating confusion in the minds of the people. The idea which was in circulation was vague and had no strong grounds for its implementation.
There are several benefits of this Independent Federal Agency but it came up with many ifs and buts which made it the most difficult task. It has been more than a decade that the idea of NCTC is wandering in the minds of the people but the exact knowledge and any action related to the establishment is missing.
There isn’t any defect in the idea of establishing the NCTC, but, there is a need to make all its provisions crystal clear for better understanding of this subject matter. The points of opposition are reasonable. This should not be taken as a complete refusal for establishing the NCTC.
The Government should work on this project if it is for the benefit of the humanity. This Federal Body should not be entirely based on the US or the British structure. An innovative structure is needed in a diverse and developing country like ours which suits the best to our country.