The Chhattisgarh government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking to declare the National Investigation Agency Act unconstitutional as it was “against the federal spirit” of the Constitution, Live Law reported.
The state, which is ruled by the Congress, filed the suit under Article 131 of the Constitution, which allows states to move the top court in disputes against the Centre. On Tuesday, the Kerala government had used the same Article to move the top court to challenge the amendments to the Citizenship Act.
The National Investigation Agency Act, passed in 2008 by the then Congress-led central government, has been challenged by a state for the first time. The Centre is a defendant in the plea.
The Chhattisgarh government said the Act was “beyond legislative competence of Parliament” as it empowered the Centre to create an agency for investigation, “which, notwithstanding the NIA, is carried out by state police, which is a subject matter of the state”.
The suit claimed the NIA Act not only took away the power of conducting investigation by states through police, but also conferred “unfettered, discretionary and arbitrary powers” on the Centre.
“Moreover, there are no rules governing the exercise of powers which gives ample discretion to the defendant [Centre] to exercise its power at any juncture without providing any reason or justification for the same,” the plea said.
Chhattisgarh’s plea said the Act left no room for coordination and pre-condition of consent in any form by the central government from the state government, and that this was against the idea of states’ sovereignty.
The NIA Act was passed soon after the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008. It allowed the Centre to set up the NIA as a special agency for investigation and prosecution of certain categories of offences.