Constitutional machinery has collapsed in Manipur: SC


The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Manipur Government and expressed strong concern about the situation in the state, stating that there is a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery in the state.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra, criticised in strong words the state police for their slow and ineffective investigation into the ongoing ethnic violence. The top court has summoned Director General of Police (DGP) of Manipur to be present in person during next hearing on the matter. The court also inquired about the date of occurrence of a specific incident, the registration of ‘zero FIR’ and regular FIR, the number of accused named in the FIRs, and the steps taken for their arrest.
The bench asked the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, how the investigation of more than 6,500 registered FIRs will be done. After looking into the suggestions of various petitioners, the Supreme Court said that the court is considering forming a committee of retired judges to look into the entire episode. The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on Monday, August 7.
During the hearing, CJI DY Chandrachud pulled up the Centre and State Governments. He said “complete breakdown of law and order in Manipur, investigation in the cases has been tardy and State’s investigation in the cases is “lethargic”. SC asked the State Government, “Why only 7 arrests in 11 FIRs regarding violence against women and children?”
CJI observes that State Police has “lost control of the situation and is incapable of investigating the cases by themselves. Supreme Court suggests bifurcation of serious cases involving murders, rape, arson, loot etc. for fast expeditious investigation. It further says all cases cannot be handed over to the CBI.
Supreme Court also suggested setting up of a committee to look into aspects of relief, rehabilitation and compensation for victims etc.
Centre put forth data before SC on the status of investigation saying – 150 deaths have taken place, 502 persons reported injured, 5,101 cases of arson, 6,523 FIRs registered in total. Next hearing in the case has been fixed on August 7.
The tension in Manipur escalated when a video emerged showing two women from opposing communities being paraded naked by a mob. The court remarked on the delay in registering the FIR in this incident. The Manipur government reported lodging of 6,523 FIRs in connection with the ethnic violence and mentioned the arrest of seven individuals, including a juvenile, in the video case. The court directed the CBI not to take statements from the victim women until a scheduled hearing in the afternoon but later, permitted it to carry on the investigation.