Monday, February 20, 2012

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India Is Required

In this exclusive guest column, Praveen Dalal, leading techno legal expert of Asia and Managing Partner of India’s exclusive techno legal ICT Law Firm Perry4Law, has shared his viewpoints about the needs for and methods of establishment of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India.

The doubts of the Constitutionality of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 (NIAA 2008) are still raised and the Union Home Ministry has decided to launch few more Projects and Initiatives that have “Serious Constitutional Ramifications”. These include the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) Project, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India, etc. NCTC of India is a pet project of Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram.

Fortunately, the NCTC of India got the Cabinet approval. NCTC would be supported by NATGRID Project, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), etc. There is no second opinion that intelligence work is not an excuse for non accountability. Similarly, there is also no second opinion that NCTC of India is also a much needed institution.

The NCTC Project of India is also “Very Significant” for the National Security of India. Terrorist attacks against India are on increase and we need a “Specilaised Institution” like NCTC to provide and analyse valuable intelligence inputs and leads.

The real problem seems to be “Lack of Coordination and Harmonisation” between the Centre and States. The Constitution of India has made a clear demarcation between the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Powers of Centre and State. The NIAA 2008 and NCTC are sitting at the “Border Line” of the Legislative and Executive Powers of Centre.

The intentions of Home Minister Mr. P.Chidambaram are good but the concerns of States are also of equal force. Further, the turf war between multiple Intelligence Agencies operating under different Government Ministries is also causing problem for the successful establishment of NCTC. Even there is a lack of proper Planning and Management on the part of Union Home Ministry that is causing delayed implementation of Projects like Natgrid, NCTC, CCTNS, etc.

If Mr. P. Chidambaram really wants his Projects to become successful, he has to think well beyond the present “Parameters and Objectives” set by Indian Government in general his own Ministry in particular.

A good starting point can be formulation of a “Constitutionally Sound Legal Framework” that can confer Legitimacy and Constitutionality to Projects like NATGRID, NCTC, CCTNS, etc. Obviously, States must be taken into confidence before starting any such Legislative Exercise.

This must be supplemented by Sound Planning and Management. The Projects of Home Ministry are neither simple nor easy to execute. They required dedicated efforts from all directions. Experts from diverse fields must be on panel of Home Ministry so that these Projects can be successfully implemented. I am sure Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram would have already considered these aspects and I wish all the best to him in this regard.