The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the judiciary cannot direct the executive on the deployment of troops for security, The Hindu reported. The court was hearing a plea by the government against a Calcutta High Court order, which last week ordered a stay on the withdrawal of central security forces from Darjeeling.

Justice Chelameswar agreed to hear the government on October 27.

“The direction [the High Court order] ignores and virtually obliterates the very concept of separation of powers,” the petition by the Centre said. “The maintenance of order and the security of the country, which includes the deployment of police and armed forces, is a fundamental facet of the governance...and is a core governmental function of the executive wing of the state. These matters cannot be the subject matter of judicial review or adjudication by a court.”

Last week, the Centre had decided to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of paramilitary forces, comprising 1,000 personnel, from Darjeeling as it wanted to deploy them at other places during the festival season. However, as the West Bengal government sought to have the forces stationed in the hill station for longer, the Centre withdrew only seven companies.

The West Bengal government later moved the High Court asking for a stay on the withdrawal of the forces to maintain law and order in Darjeeling, where the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had renewed its agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The group called off its strike on September 26.

The Home Ministry had contended that the state police must take over, now that the situation was under control. “Central forces cannot be converted into the local police,” an official had told PTI.