NANDINI SUNDAR & ORS. VERSUS STATE OF CHATTISGARH

Judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in which it has struck down as ‘unconstitutional’ the practice of arming local tribal youth as special police officers (SPOs) in order to fight the Maoists. The Judgment asked the state government to immediate stop using SPOS, recall all firearms distributed to them, desist from funding the recruitment of any other vigilante groups, ensure the filing of FIRs into criminal activities committed by them and, offer protection to those who need. The judgment dismisses the manufactured consent that has been created to build public opinion on the state of lawlessness prevailing in Chhattisgarh. Instead, it asserts that “the problem rests in the amoral political economy that the state endorses, and the resultant revolutionary politics that it spawns.” The root cause of the problem of violence, the judgment says lies in the “culture of unrestrained selfishness and greed spawned by neo-liberal economic ideology” which promotes “policies of rapid exploitation of resources by private sector without creditable commitments to equitable distribution of benefits.” As the judgment makes clear through its trenchant critique, the entire miasmic worldview which is built on the promise that “economic growth is our only path and that the costs borne by the poor and deprived, disproportionately, are necessary costs”, violates fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, particularly Arts. 14 and 21 (equality before law and dignity of life). In a bid to contain dissatisfaction, the policy of the state to distribute guns instead of books among poor tribal youth, only points to the further degeneration and dehumanization of the environment, the judgment notes.

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