Centre’s decision to provide security to MLAs raises questions

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CAPF

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with MHA's decision to deploy CAPF for the security of MLAs

The article deals with the issue of the Home Ministry’s decision to provide security to BJP MLAs in West Bengal.

Context

Recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to provide security cover to 77 MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who were elected earlier this month after the West Bengal Assembly poll.

Issues with the decision

1) Threat perception discussed for a group and not one by one person

  • Decisions to provide security to persons under threat is taken by a committee in the MHA.
  • The committee comprises officials from the MHA, the Intelligence Bureau, Delhi Police and senior officials of the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • In the meetings of the committee, the threat perception of each of the person to be secured is discussed one by one and not collectively for any group as such.
  • However, in the decision to deploy CAPF personnel for the 77 MLAs, threat perception for each of the persons was not discussed.

2) Law and order is a state subject

  • Law and order being a State subject, West Bengal is duty-bound to protect every citizen of the State, more so the MLAs.
  • By deploying central forces, the Centre has sent a clear signal that it does not rely upon the State government to provide fool-proof security to the BJP MLAs.
  • This is not a good sign for Centre-State relations.
  • The Central government’s distrust of officers who are considered close to a State’s ruling dispensation does not bode well for police officers across the country.

3) Burdening the security forces

  • The number of protected persons has increased in recent years.
  • In 2019, as many as 66,043 police and CAPF personnel were deployed to protect 19,467 persons against the sanctioned strength of 43,556 personnel, as per the Data on Police Organisations.
  • Constant deployment of CAPF personnel on protection duties impacts their training schedule.

Curbing the tendency to have security as status symbol

  • To curb the tendency of demanding security personnel around themselves, leaders and prominent persons should be asked to bear the expenditure.
  • Similarly, Members of Parliament and leaders with criminal records should be charged a fee for the security personnel deployed to protect them.

Conclusion

The Centre’s decision to provide security to the MLAs would set a wrong precedent and does not bode well for federalism.

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