Congress terms Centre's order to recall Bengal chief secy as 'lethal blow to federalism'

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): After the central government recalled West Bengal Chief Secretary from the State, Congress on Saturday termed the Centre's action as a "lethal blow" to federalism said that the decision has shocked the conscience of the entire nation.

In a statement, Congress general secretary and spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala asked the Central government to disclose the reason for the U-turn in recalling the Chief Secretary within four days of granting him a three months extension.

"The "abrupt, malicious and unilateral" recall of West Bengal's Chief Secretary by Modi Government has shocked the conscience of the entire Nation. This is a double whammy, when viewed in light of the fact that the Chief Secretary was granted an extension for three months by the Modi government itself, as recently as four days ago," he said.

"This is a lethal blow to the Constitution of India, as also Federalism. If the union government is permitted to recall the All India Service Officers i.e. IAS and IPS from the States for bipartisan political considerations and at its whims and fancies, the entire architecture of the rule of law and the Constitution will crumble," the Congress general secretary said.

If the head of bureaucracy in a State, i.e. the Chief Secretary will be summarily removed by the union government, why would any IAS or IPS officer, whether a District Magistrate or a Secretary or a Police Officer, listen to and follow the orders of the State Government or implement any policy or program devised by the State Government, he asked.

This would lead to "complete and total anarchy" in the country, argued the Congress leader.

Surjewala further said the ongoing saga in Calcutta High Court is grossly disturbing and bodes ill for an independent judiciary.

"What is equally shocking for every individual having faith in the Constitution is the recent letter written by Justice Arindam Sinha, a sitting Judge of the Calcutta High Court, wherein the Hon'ble Judge lamented, "Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the High Court commands. We have been reduced to a mockery...," he said.

"While seeking a Full Court Meeting, the sitting judge of the Calcutta High Court has pointed out the manner in which an email of CBI was converted into a petition and heard by a Division Bench in violation of the rule. The interim bail order granting bail to the West Bengal ministers by a Special CBI Court was stayed by the First Division Bench which led to dissent within the Division Bench and constitution of a 5-Judges Bench, which has since granted bail to the Ministers," Surjewala said.

The Congress leader said pursuant to the ongoing open differences in Calcutta High Court in hearing and listing of cases against TMC Ministers, as well as the recall of the Chief Secretary by the central government has given an unmistakable impression that the "Union Government is trying to dislodge a just elected government".

"It becomes even more sinister in the background of the fact that Prime Minister and all union ministers had immersed themselves in the poll campaign in West Bengal and yet the BJP was defeated," Surjewala pointed out.

The central government on Friday issued an order to recall West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay from the State and deputed him to the Department of Personnel and Training, Delhi. Bandyopadhyay has to report to North Block by May 31.

The development took place after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with the state chief secretary skipped the review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday aftermath of Cyclone Yaas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting at Kalaikunda in Paschim Medinipur district to take stock of the post-cyclonic situation. Mamata Banerjee was supposed to attained the meeting. However, she arrived late by 30 minutes and handed him over reports of damage caused by the impact of Cyclone Yaas. Following this, she and the state chief secretary left for her "pre-scheduled" meeting at Digha. (ANI)

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