SC to decide on jurisdiction of courts to compel Centre to deploy Armed Forces

The Supreme Court will decide the scope of the jurisdiction of courts to compel the Executive to deploy armed forces.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud today issued notice to the state of West Bengal in an appeal filed by the central government against an order of the Calcutta High Court, which had restrained the Centre from pulling out paramilitary forces from Darjeeling.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who appeared for the Centre, contended,

“Twenty-four High Courts cannot start dictating to the Centre on where to deploy armed forces”.

Singh also submitted that out of the fifteen companies posted in Darjeeling, seven need to be withdrawn for election duty in Himachal Pradesh.

The Court, after hearing Singh, issued notice to the state of West Bengal. It also acceded to the request made by Singh to pull out seven companies of deployed armed forces.

The Court also noted that it will consider the issue holistically, including the question of whether Courts can exercise their jurisdiction to pass such orders.

Moreover, it restrained the Calcutta High Court from taking up the case, and listed the matter for further hearing on November 27.

The Calcutta High Court had stayed the withdrawal of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) from the Darjeeling hills –  the scene of unrest over the statehood demand – till 27 October, after the state government approached it against the Centre’s decision.

On Wednesday, the Centre had moved the apex court against the High Court order, citing a serious need for deployment of troops to various border areas of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir.