Govt to move SC on armed SPOs judgement

New Delhi: The government will move the Supreme Court to seek a review of its two-day-old judgement ordering disbanding of tribals as Special Police Officers in anti-Naxal operations and terming it as "unconstitutional". Government sources said a process had already been set afoot by the home ministry and hectic consultations are on with solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam and other stake holders including the head of police organisations which were affected by militancy and insurgency.

The Centre will also hold a meeting of chief ministers of various states facing the menace of Naxalism, militancy and insurgency to discuss the apex court judgement and chalk out future course of action.

While defending the role of SPOs, the sources said that involving locals was well enshrined in the Police Act and their engagement in operations was helpful in busting various terror and Naxal modules.

On July 5, while ordering disbanding of SPOs in Chhattisgarh, the Supreme Court termed as "unconstitutional" the practice of deploying SPOs in campaigns like Salwa Judum launched by that government to fight Maoists.

It had criticised support and funding of SPOs in campaigns like Koya Commandos and Salwa Judum, an armed civilian vigilante group whose numbers have gone up from 3,000 to 6,500 within a year.

The SPOs were being provided arms training and were used to help the state police and paramilitary forces in entering the dense jungles of Bastar, a hotbed of Naxal activities.

They were also being paid a monthly emolument of Rs 2,000 by the state government.