New Delhi: Accusing the Central government of breaching the basic structure of the Constitution with the mere executive order to form National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), BJP on Tuesday demanded that the decision must be kept on hold till a consensus is evolved with states on the issue.

Extending complete support to the chief ministers who are opposing the creation of NCTC in the present format, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said that the current form of NCTC is an attack to the federal structure of the Indian Constitution and will adversely affect the Centre-state relations.

“It appears that the UPA government has forgotten the meaning of statecraft and statesmanship. Hence, at this juncture if the Centre questions the power of states provided by the honourable Constitution, then the states have the right to retaliate back,” Jaitley told reporters here.

He further said, “Earlier this government attempted to breach the power of states on the Lokayukta issue and now it is attacking on law and order, which is completely the function of states.”

“Federalism is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution which no Parliament can change,” Jaitley asserted.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said, “On the issue of curbing the Maoist menace, Home Minister P Chidambaram had held states responsible for combating the issue terming law and order is the responsibility of states. How can the UPA government change its priorities as per their needs?”

The BJP leader insisted that the fight against terrorism is as much a responsibility of the states as that of the Centre and to combat it effectively both the Centre and states have to levy a combined effort.

Expressing severe dismay with the provision of not evolving state police by the central security agencies and initiating probe without taking them into cognizance, Jaitley said,

"The Centre cannot substitute police powers of the states. It can only aid and assist. The Centre cannot take away from the states their power of search and seizure, and the power to arrest.”

JPN/Bureau