(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: The Hindu - To IB or not to IB, that is the Question

The Hindu

To IB or not to IB, that is the Question

Q. Why most of the Indian States are opposing proposed NCTC Act?

The CIA had a Counter-TerrorismCentre (CTC) for tasks of co-ordination and follow-up action on the intelligence collected by various agencies. The CTC had officers taken on deputation from different agencies. They worked under a CIA officer.

  • But his model of the Indian NCTC differs from the U.S. model in two respects. The U.S. NCTC is an independent institution not under the control of any of the existing agencies. In India, it is to be made a wing of the IB and will work under the DIB.

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  • In the U.S., the NCTC is a legal institution set up under Congressional legislation after bipartisan consultations, but it does not have any legal powers to act on its own in matters such as arrest, detention, interrogation, searches etc.

  • The Indian NCTC has been set up by executive notification under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967. This has obviated the need for fresh legislation and fresh political consultation at the Centre and with the States.

  • More seriously, the Indian NCTC is to be given powers of arrest and searches as part of its preventive operations.

  • Granting these powers to the IB through the NCTC mechanism could have two undesirable consequences. First, there may be allegations of misuse of the IB for harassing political opponents.

  • Secondly, the IB’s role as a clandestine intelligence collection organisation may get affected.

  • The IB will be preoccupied with defending its arrests before the courts and against allegations of human rights violations.

  • Today, the IB enjoys protection from the Right to Information Act. If it has these powers and adds policing to its functions, it may no longer be able to enjoy this protection.

  • The Home Minister had two options. If he felt the NCTC must have the powers of search and arrest, he could have made it an independent agency. Or if he felt that it must work under the IB, he could have made it a division of the agency without giving it these powers.

  • He should re-visit the proposed NCTC architecture in consultation with political parties and the States.

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