ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Blow for Constitutionalism

The State can no longer use vigilante groups to combat militancy.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nandini Sundar and Ors vs State of Chhattisgarh should be lauded for rendering as unconstitutional the Government of Chhattisgarh using vigilante groups to combat the Maoists in the state. This is a historic judgment which should draw the line under state use of vigilante groups in the country.

The petition focused on the Salwa Judum which from the early 2000s received state support; subsequently the Chhattisgarh state officially attached its members as special police officers (SPOs) to its police and paramilitary forces. Recruited from local villages, it was believed that the SPOs’ knowledge of the terrain and the people of the area would improve intelligence and strengthen counter-insurgency efforts against the Maoists.

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