For the second time in as many weeks, the Center has asked the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal to relieve three IPS officers for central deputation. The IPS officers — Rajeev Mishra, Praveen Kumar Tripathi and Bholanath Pandey — have been asked to report to the Ministry of Home Affairs immediately on central deputation after their failure to provide adequate security to BJP president JP Nadda's convoy during his visit to the state.
The three have also been posted to central paramilitary forces. In a letter written to state DGP and chief secretary, the MHA informed that Bholanath Pandey has been appointed as SP in the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Pravin Kumar Tripathi as DIG in Sashastra Seema Bal, and Rajiv Mishra as IG in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The letter adds that the state has to relieve them immediately.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs has written a second letter to the West Bengal government on Thursday asking the three IPS officials to be relieved immediately," an MHA officer told News18.
The MHA in the letter has said that if the West Bengal government does not comply and release these officers, it will constitute as violation of Rule 6(1) of IPS cadre rules, 1954. The rules says that "a cadre officer with the concurrence of the state government or the state governments concerned and the central government, be deputed for service under the central government or another state government or under a company or association or body of individuals whether incorporated or not... provided that in case of any disagreement the matter shall be decided by the central government and the state government concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government."
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has, however, refused to comply. In a series of tweets, Banerjee said that it was a deliberate attempt by the Centre to encroach upon the state's jurisdiction and demoralise the serving officers in West Bengal. "This move, particularly before the elections is against the basic tenets of the federal structure. It's unconstitutional & completely unacceptable!" she said.
"GoI's (Government of India) order of central deputation for the 3 serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the State's objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954," Banerjee tweeted.
We wouldn’t allow this brazen attempt by the Centre to control the State machinery by proxy! West Bengal is not going to cow-down in front of expansionist & undemocratic forces. (3/3)— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 17, 2020
Banerjee's position is similar to the one taken in 2001 by then Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa who had refused to comply when the state was asked to release then Chennai police commissioner and two officers who had arrested DMK president M Karunanidhi. Jayalalithaa had called it a breach of federal structure, which Banerjee has alleged now.