Vohra attempts to fiddle with RPC as CM chair lies vacant

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra stirred a hornet’s nest with his statement that Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), the state’s criminal law, should be brought under purview of the National Investigation Act (NIA) act that could give extraordinary powers to the central probe agency to take over any terror case.

The state, which is under Governor’s rule at present, enjoys a special status whereby no Act can come into force automatically until it is ratified by the state Assembly.

In their reactions yesterday, the state’s opposition parties–National Conference(NC) and CPM –did not favour Vohra’s suggestion and said any such move should not be allowed while ruling PDP, an alliance partner of BJP, said it would react after studying the statement of the Governor.

In his address at the 7th foundation day of the NIA yesterday, Vohra said the Union Home Ministry should take urgent steps to ensure that NIA’s legal framework is suitably modified to enable effective investigations in terror cases.

“The existing Schedule to the NIA Act also requires to be reviewed for enlarging the list of offences to particularly cover those under the Ranbir Penal Code, Arms Act, NDPS Act, Explosive Substances Act and Cyber Terrorism offences, among others,” he said.

Inclusion of Ranbir Penal Code, which is a substitute to Indian Penal Code(IPC) in Jammu and Kashmir, means that National Investigation Agency (NIA) can take over any case registered under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as well as RPC.

Under the NIA Act, which came into force after the 2008 Mumbai attack, the agency can take over any case related to terror suo-motu except for Jammu and Kashmir where it requires permission of the state government before taking up the investigation.

Both PDP and NC have been opposing giving sweeping powers to NIA to take suo motu cognisance of terror-related cases in the state.

PDP leader Nayeem Akther said that his party requires time to study the statement of the Governor and that it will come out with its response later while NC spokesman said that the party will not support any such move.

“The Governor should leave such decision to be taken by a popularly elected government,” the spokesman said.

CPM leader and MLA Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami saw the statement as a move to encroach upon the autonomy of the state. “This is an attempt to encroach on whatever autonomy is left,” Tarigami said. 

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