Code Red: An Analysis under Legal Positivism

  • Vikranta Barsay
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  • Vikranta Barsay

    Student at National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam, India

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Code Red is an unofficial phrase for the extra-judicial punishment within the Armed Forces for disciplining the subordinate officers for reasons ranging from the violation of official protocol to the washout of one’s duties. The Indian version of Code Red is Kambal Parade. The legal validity of Code Red is analysed in the light of ‘A Few Good Men’ due to the paucity of real-life instances of Code Red barring the isolated instances of PFC William Alvarado (the United States of America) and Second Lieutenant Shatrughan Singh Chauhan (India). The film is assumed to be a mainstream reflection of the tenets of military discipline. Hard Positivism dissociates itself from the moral bearing of Col Nathan R. Jessup’s command of Code Red since Hard Positivism champions the command of a supreme sovereign authority even if the command lacks moral footing. Soft Positivism believes in the sound interpretation of legal principles in the light of moral provisions and ideologies, wherein the moral provisions emanate from the moral beliefs and customs of the physical community instead of birthing from Natural Law and Divine Law. Soft Positivism upholds the rejection of Code Red on two grounds: a) The Marines at the base must obey Code Red out of reflective acceptance instead of the coercive force of the fear of Col Nathan R. Jessup (H. L. A. Hart), and b) Code Red is inconsistent with the acceptable sound interpretation of legal principles that condemn the harming of another human being (Ronald M. Dworkin). The court of law in the film adheres to the credos of Soft Positivism while convicting Col Nathan R. Jessup for ordering the lethal Code Red on PFC William Santiago.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, Page 1757 - 1771


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