New Delhi: The Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order disbanding the armed Special Police Officers (SPOs), consisting of tribals and locals, for combating naxals in Chhattisgarh, saying that it would lead to escalation of violence by Left Wing Extremists (LWE).

The Home Ministry also said the apex court's July 5 order has wider implications as it is not only restricted to Chhattisgarh but is applicable to the entire country.

The court's verdict is coming in the way of funding by the Centre to other states affected by naxal menace and the LWE where SPOs are appointed, it contended.

"...the directions contained in the order are so wide that the injunction directing applicant, i.e. the Centre to cease and desist, forthwith, from using any of its funds in supporting, directly or indirectly, the recruitment of SPOs for the purposes of engaging in any form of counter insurgency activities against Maoists/Naxalites groups, can be read as an injunction which may be held applicable to the entire country.

"It is therefore respectfully submitted that the directions issued go beyond the reliefs prayed for by the petitioners in respect of Chhattisgarh and hence, imperative need to file present application has arisen," the application said.

The MHA said the BJP government in Chhattisgarh has already issued an Ordinance for creating Chhattisgarh Auxiliary force to absorb SPOs, who have been rendered jobless and because of the promulgation of the Ordinance, "the entire basis of July 5 order of the apex court has ceased to exist."

"It is respectfully submitted that it is a settled legal proposition that executive powers connotes the residual of governmental function that remains after legislature and judicial functioning are taken away," the application said.

The application said "the order is silent on engagement of SPOs in non-Maoist insurgency-affected states vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern states".

The Centre said that the order requires modification as it was passed after hearing only Chhattisgarh government and other LWE-affected states were not heard.

"Whereas the applicability of the order was widened to all LWE-affected states which is unsustainable considering the fact that there were no complaints whatsoever about the conduct of SPOs in other LWE affected states. The other LWE affected states were not heard in the matter. To the said extent, the order is violative of the principles of natural justice," it said.

Further, the Government said sudden withdrawal of 28,566 SPOs from LWE-affected states will adversely affect the law and order situation in these states and result in serious threat to the lives of these very SPOs and may also lead to escalation of violence by left wing extremists on local population.

The MHA contended that the apex court order wrongly equated Salwa Judum, anti-Vigilante group, and SPOs as one and the same.

"However, these two are different. Whereas Salwa Judum is a movement started by local people as a revolt against the excesses and torture by the Naxalites, the SPOs are appointed by the state governments to act as guides to the security forces because they are locally recruited and have better knowledge of the terrain and local language. They are also source of intelligence for the security forces," the application said.

Listing several grounds for modification, it also said the order restraining the Chhattisgarh government and the Centre from arming SPOs by terming it’s as "unconstitutional" is "directly contrary to the well established doctrine of separation of powers and negates the Constitutional framework of federalism."

A bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar had given the order on a petition filed by sociologist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramachandra Guha, former bureaucrat EAS Sarma and others.

The petition had sought a direction to the state government to refrain from allegedly supporting Salwa Judum (vigilante force) comprising about 2,000 tribals who help the police and security forces in the Bastar region, including in Bijapur and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh, in the fight against Maoists.

(Agencies)