The Supreme Court on Friday posted for hearing on September 22 the Centre's application seeking recall/review of its order declaring illegal and unconstitutional the appointment of tribal youth as Special Police Officers/Salwa Judum by the Chhattisgarh government to counter Maoist violence.
A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and S.S. Nijjar had passed the order on the writ petition filed by social anthropologist Nandini Sundar and others. The Centre sought recall of the order insofar as it pertained to references against the Union government in paragraphs 75 (ii) and 76, on the ground that they were against the spirit of the Constitution.
This application was listed for hearing on Friday before a Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S.S. Nijjar and Gyan Sudha Misra. But Solicitor-General Rohinton Nariman suggested that since the order on the Centre's application to recall the order in the ‘black money' case was to be pronounced on September 20, the present application could be heard thereafter. For, that order relating to maintainability would have a bearing in this case also.
The Bench accepted the request and posted the matter to September 22.
In its application, the Centre said: “In Para 75 (ii) the court directed the Centre to cease and desist forthwith from using its funds for supporting, directly or indirectly, the recruitment of SPOs for being engaged in any form of counter-insurgency activities against Maoists/Naxalites.
In Para 76, the court held that the appointment of SPOs to perform any of the duties of regular police officers, other than those specified in Sections 23(1)(h) and 23(1)(i) of the Chhattisgarh Police Act, 2007, was unconstitutional.”
The Centre said that under the Constitution, policing was exclusively in the domain of the executive and the judiciary could not interfere in it.
The Union government said the court order directing disbanding and disarming of tribals, deployed as SPOs, would affect not only anti-Naxal operations but also its fight against militants in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in other States and in particular, the northeast.