Case Number



B. Sudarshan Reddy, Surinder Singh Nijjar

Decided On

5 July, 2011

Equivalent Citation

250 OF 2007

Relevant Acts

Section 17 and section 9(1) of Indian Police Act, 1861


This particular case was brought up in front of the Supreme Court of India by Nandini Sundar who works as a sociology professor at Delhi School of Economics along with Ramchandra Guha, an historian and also an E.A.S. Sarma former secretary to the GOI. The petitioners had challenged the State of Chhattisgarh on the appointment of tribal people as SPOs or Special Police Officers. The main contention in this case was that the appointment of such tribal people was a complete violation to the Human Rights of the citizens of Chhattisgarh. The main story which comes over here is that the Chhattisgarh state had created a group in the year 2005 known as Salwa Judum in order to fight against the Maoists who were causing really much trouble at the entire state by killing people mercilessly. The State had appointed SOPs for creating an environment of peace and the main reason why state had elected tribal people as SOPs was that the tribal people had the knowledge of local language and therefore, they can handle the entire situation of these Maoists/Naxalists on their own ways. In the year 2006, Nandini along with some other people had conducted a detailed fact research on this group and she got several complaints against this group. Therefore, she went to various commissions in order to file a report like National Human Rights Commissions, The Prime Ministers office, Union Home Minster and National Commission of Tribal Rights. In the end after visiting all these places, they finally went to the Supreme Court of India in the year 2007 and filed a writ petition so as to get an investigation in this matter because it was actually quite violative of the basic human rights. The contentions that were raised by the petitioners was that that there was widespread human rights violation of the people in Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh which resulted on account of the ongoing armed Maoist/Naxalite insurgency and counter insurgency operation launched by the Chhattisgarh Government.2 It is further alleged that, Chhattisgarh government has actively promoted SalwaJudum group as an armed civilian vigilante group, which further aggravated ongoing struggle, and was leading to further widespread violation of the human rights in form of ill treatment, displacement of Dantewada District people. The demand of the petitioners was just to provide justice to the innocent people of Chhattisgarh state and also remove this SOP appointment because it was not at all providing any sort of advantage to the state. The Maoists attacks were still going on and it was still causing trouble to the people.


The main issue in this case involved was to clearly analyze the issue of appointment of tribal people as Special Police Officers or SPO by the Chhattisgarh Government and also validity of Chandigarh Police Act, 2007.

Ratio Decidendi

This Case is based on Constitutional validity of SPO appointment and Chandigarh Police Act, 2007 i.e. it is a case of National Security.


In this particular case, the Supreme Court had made a very comprehensive and a detailed judgement. The judges in this case had struck down the unconstitutional practice of hiring tribal people as SOP. The State of Chhattisgarh had also made some amendments with respect to SOP’s immediately and refrained from using them in any sort of activities whether directly or indirectly which aims on controlling, countering or eliminating any Maoist/ Naxalite in the state. The UOI or Union of India will not use any of its fund in order to recruit SOPs for the purpose of engaging them to any sort of activities against Naxalites/ Maoists. The state would make every possible step to recall all the firearms given to the SOPs. They would also give their efforts in providing protection and safeguard to those who have served as SOPs earlier. The state has also taken the responsibility of limiting the operations of any groups that would not be limited to SalwaJudum and Koya Commandos or to take law and order in their hands so as to prevent any sort of attack that can be really harmful for the humanity and violate the Human Rights. The protocols that would be followed by the state are having a clear-cut investigation on the activities of these two army groups and also to file an FIR immediately if there is any sort of violation under any aspect outlined. In addition to all these things, the state in the end made sections 23 (1) (h) and 23 (1) (i) as unconstitutional since it is violative of the human rights. These are some of the important judgements that were made in order to safeguard the National Security and also the constitutional validity of certain outlined provisions. It took around 6 years to bring a considerable judgement towards the parties. The main aspect that was outlined over here in order to get a fair judgement was that the court had looked into section 17 of the Indian Police Act, 1861 so as to check the validity of the main issues. The court had provided fair and equitable justice to the parties and also safeguarded the security of the State of Chhattisgarh.

Overall, the judgment is a landmark one, upholding the constitutional values. But on the other side the author humbly and respectfully is of the opinion that the observation of the Apex Court does not reflect the correct legal position because just reaching the “right” conclusion is not enough. As it is mentioned earlier that, discussion on the concept of the neo-liberalism, socio economic condition etc. by the Apex Court is deviation from the main issue of the case, further court has also not invoked any international humanitarian law principles in this case which can be invoked very easily, since Indian Constitution itself enshrined various provisions of international humanitarian law principles.

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