Border Security Force (BSF): The Union Home Ministry has expanded the powers of the Border Security Force (BSF).
- The Centre amended Section 139 of the Border Security Force (BSF) Act, by extending the juridiction of BSF.
- As per the amended act, the BSF is authorized to “arrest, search and seize” to within 50 km from the international boundary in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab.
- They have been given the right to take this action under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), NDPS Act, Passport Act and Passport (Entry to India) Act.
- The October 11 notification replaces a 2014 order under the BSF Act, 1968, which also covered the States of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.
- They also have the power to search and arrest in Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
- According to a notification published in the Gazette of India on October 11, it will also be applicable to the newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
- It has also reduced the area covered by the force in Gujarat.
- Prior to this, the BSF’s limit was fixed up to 80 km from the international boundary in Gujarat and 15 km in Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
- The amendment establishes uniformity in defining the area within which the BSF can operate” as per its charter of duties.
- The enhancement of the powers of BSF would enable improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crimes.
- After a suspect has been detained or a consignment seized within the specified area, the BSF can only conduct “preliminary questioning” and has to hand over the suspect to the local police within 24 hours.
- The BSF does not have the powers to prosecute crime suspects.
Why was this decision taken?
- This decision, as per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was taken because of the recent incidents of droppings of drone weapons from across the border.
- This decision will help in curbing illegal activities related to national security across 10 states and 2 Union Territories.
- It refers to the Border Security Force.
- The BSF is India’s border guarding organization on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh and has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
- It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India.
- It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965.
- It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
- It is the only Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to have a Full-fledged Water Wing, Air Wing and even an Artillery Regiment of its own.
- The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service.
- Border Security Force (BSF) is one of the 7 recognized Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the other 6 being Assam Rifles (AR), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
- It currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force.
- Its motto is जीवन पर्यन्त कर्तव्य (Duty Unto Death)