The Supreme Court has weighed in on the debate over the egality of India’s economic growth, says Krishnava Dutt
The contradictions and inconsistencies that have become synonymous with India’s development were recently brought into focus by a division bench of the Supreme Court in Nandini Sundar v State of Chhattisgarh, popularly known as the Salwa Judum case. In the case, the court severely criticized the Chhattisgarh state government’s policy of distributing guns to barely literate tribal youths in its effort to tackle left-wing guerrilla insurgents. The youths had been appointed as special police officers (SPOs) in a civil militia called the Salwa Judum.
While declaring that such policies run counter to article 14 (right to equality) and article 21 (right to life) of the constitution of India, the court said that the state had turned a blind eye to the deliberate infliction “of misery on large segments of our population”. It added that among the problems plaguing India’s society are: unchecked power, policies of ruthless violence, amoral political economy endorsed by the state, the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources without credible commitments to the equitable distribution of benefits and costs, low levels of human development and predatory forms of capitalism.
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Krishnava Dutt is the managing partner at Argus Partners, a full-service firm that has offices in Kolkata and Mumbai.