SC constitutes 3-judge committee to look into 'humanitarian' issues in violence hit Manipur

Supreme Court of India. (IANS File Photo)

Supreme Court of India. (IANS File Photo)

Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 7 

The Supreme Court announced the establishment of a committee comprising three former female High Court judges tasked with addressing the distressing aftermath of the Manipur violence. 

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud led the bench that revealed the committee, headed by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal, and supported by Justices (retd) Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon.

The main objective of the committee, as articulated by the bench, is to instill a renewed sense of trust and assurance in the rule of law within the state. With a focus on providing relief and rehabilitation, the judicial panel will oversee a range of efforts aimed at aiding those affected by the tragic events in Manipur.

The bench, which also included Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, expressed its commitment to ensuring a comprehensive investigation into the criminal cases under scrutiny. To that end, the Supreme Court will enlist the assistance of seasoned senior police officers to supervise the state's Special Investigation Teams (SITs) assigned to probe the cases.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court heard several petitions concerning the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur. During the proceedings, the state government proposed the formation of SITs led by district Superintendents of Police to investigate the cases thoroughly. 

Manipur DGP Rajiv Singh was present before Chief Justice DY Chandrachud's bench to address questions pertaining to the violence and the government's response, including the process of segregating cases for efficient investigation.

Appearing on behalf of the Centre and state governments, Attorney General R Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted the report requested by the apex court on August 1, addressing issues such as the segregation of cases. Praising the government's handling of the situation as commendable, the Attorney General assured the bench that the state government intended to establish SITs at the district level, led by superintendents of police, to investigate sensitive cases. Additionally, 11 cases will be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

It is worth recalling that on August 1, the Supreme Court had denounced the complete breakdown of law and order and the constitutional machinery in Manipur. The court specifically criticized the slow and inadequate investigation by the police into incidents of ethnic violence, particularly those targeting women. Subsequently, the DGP was summoned to appear before the bench on August 7 to address the court's queries.

During the hearing, the Centre urged the bench to transfer 11 out of 6,523 FIRs related to violence against women and children to the CBI. The move was proposed as an alternative to dealing with the two FIRs concerning a video showing women being paraded naked by a mob, suggesting that these cases be tried outside Manipur.

The bench is currently handling around 10 petitions related to the violence in Manipur. These petitions seek not only relief but also measures for rehabilitation and other forms of assistance to alleviate the hardships faced by the victims.