NSA’s remarks on Civil Society NSA’s remarks on Civil Society – UPSC GS2

Context: National Security Adviser made following remarks:
  • People cannot feel safe and secure if law enforcers are weak, corrupt and partisan.
  • Implementation of laws is more important than their legislation.
  • The substance of democracy does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the laws made by the people who are elected through those ballot boxes.
  • Wars are no longer an effective instrument for achieving political or military objectives. But it is the civil society that can be subverted to hurt the interest of a nation. So, police should focus on protecting the people.
What are the issues on the statements made by NSA?
  • It failed to recognise that civil society and human rights are fundamentally linked: Excessive Protection of the state against civil societies will affect human rights. With states becoming more aggressive, the need is to protect civil society from the state. For instance, a majoritarian state can pass a range of laws affecting the individual rights and liberty. Only if, civil societies are given due protection, it can resist against the aggression of the state.
  • Statement that implementation of laws “is more important than their legislation” cannot be justified always. For instance, forced birth control measures during emergency. Further, India ranks 142 out of 180 in the Global Law index due to the “draconian and colonial laws that still exist like UAPA, sedition etc. In this context, implementing these laws with full commitment will be disastrous to society.
Way forward:
  • While protecting the state, the constitutional right of citizens to protest should not be breached.
  • More stringent a penal provision, the more strictly it must be interpreted.

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