Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ‘back breaking’ orders are undemocratic and bad in law | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ‘back breaking’ orders are undemocratic and bad in law

Extrajudicial measures — such as asking the police to mete out justice to those accused of harassing women — might be popular, but it’s a dangerous path to tread

editorials Updated: Mar 21, 2018 17:41 IST
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing a function, Bhopal (File Photo)
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing a function, Bhopal (File Photo)(PTI)

Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has a way with words — one that often leads him from one controversy to another. At times it can be passed off as hardsell; while in the United States last October, for instance, he said that the roads in his home state were “better” than the ones in the US. Social media was quick to highlight the pothole-ridden roads in Madhya Pradesh. At other times, what he says falls in the twilight zone between bullying and braggadocio, such as his alleged statement at a meeting of the BJP state executive committee last July, when he said he would “hang officials upside down” for delaying the clearance of routine revenue matters.

On Sunday, Mr Chouhan was at it again. He asked the police to “break the backs” of those found harassing young women outside colleges. According to reports, while speaking to senior police officers and district officials, the CM said, “Break their backs. I want action, action and action against criminals. I want results, not words.” He also endorsed the police action in Bhopal and Indore where men accused of harassing women were paraded and the victims were made to slap them.

Crimes against women are, well, crimes. They need to be fought. But while combating such crimes, one should not take the law into one’s hands.

Extrajudicial measures — such as asking the police to mete out justice to those accused of harassing women — might be popular, but it’s a dangerous path to tread. Such endorsements are unlawful, because criminals are entitled to the benefit of our justice system. This approach only encourages vigilantism and cannot be sanctioned by the custodians of the law like the chief minister.

For 12 years now ,Mr Chouhan has been the chief minister. If the law and order situation is poor, and the number of crimes, especially those against women, are high, it is a reflection on his governance.