Popular Front of India National General Secretary M Mohamed Ali Jinnah has welcomed Chhattisgarh Government’s decision to challenge the constitutionality of the draconian NIA Act in the Supreme Court and urged other non-BJP State Governments also to approach apex court to strike down the act which is against the spirit of federalism.
The plea filed by state government under Article 131 of the Constitution against the law expresses highly serious concerns which had already been raised by various political parties and civil rights groups since its introduction in 2008 and upon its amendment in 2019 by making it even more draconian. As Chhattisgarh Government rightly pointed out, the law undermines federal character of the country by conferring excessive powers to the centre to interfere in the prerogatives given to the states by the constitution. As stated in the plea of the state government, there are no rules governing the exercise of these powers and no room for coordination with state in law, and it does not even require consent of any form from the states. Besides, that fact that serious complaints in the past years regarding the misuse of the law by those in power at centre to hunt down its political opponents and to quell dissent only affirms the existing fears.
There is no denying the fact that our mainstream opposition parties played a major role in creating this situation. It was UPA government that first enacted the law in 2008, despite criticism from the human rights organizations and activist. It is, however, highly hopeful, that states government are finally waking up to the reality. Kerala government has set a good example by officially approaching the apex court against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act. As a state where there are many instances of the misuse of the NIA Act and UAPA, Kerala state government can be in the forefront to follow the example of Chhattisgarh government and challenge both the laws. Taking the seriousness of the situation into account, Popular Front appeals other non BJP state governments to align themselves with Chhattisgarh in raising this demand and to save constitution and federal character of the country.