For the second time in as many weeks, the Center asked the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal to replace three IPS agents for the central deputation. IPS officers – Rajeev Mishra, Praveen Kumar Tripathi and Bholanath Pandey – were asked to report immediately to the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the central deputation following their failure to provide adequate security to the convoy of BJP President JP Nadda during the his visit to the state.
The three were also sent to the central paramilitary forces. In a letter written to the state DGP and the chief secretary, the MHA informed that Bholanath Pandey was appointed SP in the Police Research and Development Office, Pravin Kumar Tripathi as DIG to Sashastra Seema Bal and Rajiv Mishra as IG in Indonesia Tibetan border police. The letter adds that the state must raise them immediately.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs wrote a second letter to the West Bengal government on Thursday demanding that the three IPS officials be relieved immediately,” an MHA official told News18.
The MHA in the letter said that if the West Bengal government does not comply and release these officers, it will constitute a violation of rule 6 (1) of the IPS cadre rules, 1954. The rules say that “a cadre officer with the concurrence of the state government or the state governments concerned and the central government, to be deputy for service under the central government or another state government or under a company or association or entity of individuals, constituted or not … provided that in case of disagreement the matter will be decided by the central government and the government of the state concerned will give effect to the decision of the central government.
Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, refused to comply. In a series of tweets, Banerjee said it was a deliberate attempt by the Center to invade state jurisdiction and demoralize officers serving in West Bengal. “This move, particularly before the elections, is against the fundamental principles of the federal structure. It is unconstitutional and completely unacceptable!” she said.
“The Indian Government’s Central Deputation Order for the 3 IPS Officers on duty in West Bengal, despite the state’s objection, is a colourable exercise of power and a blatant abuse of the emergency provisions of the IPS Cadre Rule 1954”, Banerjee tweeted.
We would not allow this brazen attempt by the Center to control the state apparatus by proxy! West Bengal has no plans to break down in the face of expansionist and undemocratic forces. (3/3)
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 17, 2020
Banerjee’s position is similar to that taken in 2001 by then Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa who refused to obey when the state was asked to release the then Chennai Police Commissioner and two officers who had arrested the President of the DMK M Karunanidhi. Jayalalithaa called it a violation of the federal framework, which Banerjee has now claimed.