Punjab Government Calls on SC to Challenge Center’s Decision to Extend BSF’s Territorial Jurisdiction

The Punjab government has asked the Supreme Court to challenge the Centre’s decision which expanded the jurisdiction of the BSF to undertake searches, seizures and arrests in a larger 50 km stretch of the international border in Assam, Bengal. Western and Punjab, compared to the previous 15 km. . The state government, in its argument, said that extending the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) encroaches on the constitutional jurisdiction of the states.

“It is argued that the notification dated October 11, 2021 is ultra-vires the Constitution because it defeats the purpose of entries 1 and 2 of List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution of the India and impinges on the plaintiff’s plenary power to legislate on matters which concern or are necessary for the maintenance of public order and internal peace,” the government of Punjab said.

The Union Home Office had issued a notification in this context on October 11, amending a July 2014 provision authorizing BSF staff and officers when operating in border areas.

While in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam the jurisdiction of the BSF has been reduced from 15 km to 50 km, in Gujarat, which shares its border with Pakistan, the limit has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km, while that in Rajasthan, it was unchanged at 50 km.

The issue sparked controversy as the opposition-ruled Punjab and West Bengal denounced the move and the respective state assemblies proposed resolutions against the move by the Union government.

The BSF has a membership of about 2.65 lakh and it was established on December 1, 1965.

It has 192 operational battalions and is the largest border guard force in the country, with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Assam Rifles being the other three.

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