The Supreme Court on Friday said the Centre can withdraw seven of the 15 companies of Central Reserve Police Force from the restive Darjeeling and Kalimpong areas of West Bengal.

The court ruled on a plea by the government against a Calcutta High Court order, which had put a stay on the withdrawal of central security forces from the area. On Monday, the Centre had argued that the judiciary cannot dictate where central forces were to be deployed. “The direction [of the High Court] ignores and virtually obliterates the very concept of separation of powers,” it had said.

The Centre had decided to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of the paramilitary force, comprising 1,000 personnel, from the region as it wanted to deploy them at other places during the festival season. But the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had moved the Calcutta High Court, asking for a stay on the Centre’s order. The state government reasoned that the forces were required to maintain the law and order situation in Darjeeling where the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been agitating for a separate state.