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Nandini Sundar & Ors vs. State of Chhattisgarh

 

Excerpt:

This case represents a yawning gap between the promise of principled exercise of power in a constitutional democracy, and the reality of the situation in Chattisgarh, where the Respondent, the State of Chattisgarh, claims that it has a constitutional sanction to perpetrate, indefinitely, a regime of gross violation of human rights in a manner, and by adopting the same modes, as done by Maoist/Naxalite extremists.  The State of Chattisgarh also claims that it has the powers to arm, with guns, thousands of mostly illiterate or barely literate young men of the tribal tracts, who are appointed as temporary police officers, with little or no training, and even lesser clarity about the chain of command to control the activities of such a force, to fight the battles against alleged Maoist extremists. . . .  Whether SPOs have been “effective” against Maoist/Naxalite activities in Chattisgarh it would seem to be a dubious, if not a debunked, proposition given the state of affairs in Chattisgarh.  Even if we were to grant, for the sake of argument, that indeed the SPOs were effective against Maoists/Naxalites, the doubtful gains are accruing only by the incurrence of a massive loss of fealty to the Constitution, and damage to the social order.  The “force” as claimed by the State, in the instant matters, is inexorably leading to the loss of the force of the Constitution.  Constitutional fealty does not, cannot and ought not to permit either the use of such a force or its multiplication. . . .  We order that: (i) The State of Chattisgarh immediately cease and desist from using SPOs in any manner or form in any activities, directly or indirectly, aimed at controlling, countering, mitigating or otherwise eliminating Maoist/Naxalite activities in the State of Chattisgarh; (ii) The Union of India to cease and desist, forthwith, from using any of its funds in supporting, directly or indirectly the recruitment of SPOs for the purposes of engaging in any form of counter-insurgency activities against Maoist/Naxalite groups; (iii) The State of Chattisgarh shall forthwith make every effort to recall all firearms issued to any of the SPOs, whether current or former, along with any and all accoutrements and accessories issued to use such firearms.  The word firearm as used shall include any and all forms of guns, rifles, launchers etc., of whatever caliber; (iv) The State of Chattisgarh shall forthwith make arrangements to provide appropriate security, and undertake such measures as are necessary, and within bounds of constitutional permissibility, to protect the lives of those who had been employed as SPOs previously, or who had been given any initial orders of selection or appointment, from any and all forces, including but not limited to Maoists/Naxalites; and (v) The State of Chattisgarh shall take all appropriate measures to prevent the operation of any group, including but not limited to Salwa Judum and Koya Commandos, that in any manner or form seek to take law into private hands, act unconstitutionally or otherwise violate the human rights of any person.  The measures to be taken by the State of Chattisgarh shall include, but not be limited to, investigation of all previously inappropriately or incompletely investigated instances of alleged criminal activities of Salwa Judum, or those popularly known as Koya Commandos, filing of appropriate FIR’s and diligent prosecution.

Full Text:


Cf. “Salwa Judum Unconstitutional: Tax Breaks for the Rich, and Guns for the Youngsters amongst Poor Says SC; State to Seek Review of SC Order” (Bar & Bench News Network, 7 July 2011); “In Defence of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh” (Free Binayak Sen Campaign, 7 July 2011).




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