Neoliberal National Security: Wielding Counterterrorism Powers to Protect Economic Growth
Liberalization and Globalization: Changing Legal Paradigm (National Law School of India University Book Series 2017), edited by Sairam Bhat.
11 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2017
Date Written: 2017
The Indian government’s crackdown on anti-nationalist protest and its secret implementation of broad data collection and surveillance regime illustrates the dangers of empowering the government’s use of its vast powers to prevent, curtail or punish those who pose or are perceived to pose a threat to the economic security of India. This Book Chapter describes three strands to view with each other to understand the concern surrounding the use of counterterrorism powers to preserve neo-liberal goals in the face of criticism and protest.
These strands are the political imperative of the Indian government to protect and grow the economy while dealing with the fear that terrorism may derail India’s economic development; second, the inclusion of economic insecurity in the legal definition of a national security threat; and third, the vast powers granted to and used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies dealing with perceived national security threats with little judicial or other external constraint. The characterization of anti-nationalist protest as a form of sedition that led to the harsh treatment of the Jawaharlal Nehru University protesters and the largely secret but extremely broad Central Monitoring System data gathering and surveillance system are exemplars of concerns that arise with the granting of broad national security and counterterrorism powers and without strong oversight or constraint.
The Author proposes that Parliament reconsider its current authorization of the use of counterterrorism powers to deal with potential economic threats, and the courts be willing to look closely at cases that curtail the rights to expression, due process, and privacy in the name of economic security. If India is to ensure adherence to the rule of law while fulfilling the national priority of growing its economy, the Parliament courts and the public must insist on better transparency and accountability.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, India, Civil Rights, Nationalism, Surveillance, National Security, Economic Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Central Monitoring System, Privacy
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