Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2023

SC terms Manipur incident ‘horrendous’, raps Centre, asks ‘what was police doing?’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday termed as ‘horrendous’ the video of two women being paraded naked in Manipur and sought information about steps taken so far in the FIRs lodged, saying now it will not want the state police to probe the matter as they virtually handed over the women to the rioting mob.

We will hear you on that later… We are dealing with Manipur right now

The top court said it may constitute an SIT or a committee comprising former judges to monitor the situation in the strife-torn state subject to hearing the law officers representing the Centre and Manipur on Tuesday.

The bench, which listed a clutch of pleas on Manipur violence for hearing on Tuesday, said though the incident of stripping and parading these women came to light on May 4 why the Manipur police took 14 days to register an FIR on May 18.u

“What was police doing? Why was an FIR in video case transferred to magisterial court on June 24, that is after one month and three days,” asked the bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

“This is horrendous. There are media reports that these women were handed over to mob by the police. We also do not want the police to handle it,” the bench said.

When Attorney General R Venkataramani sought time for responding to the queries, the bench said it was running out of time and there was ‘a great need’ for giving a healing touch to the state, for those who lost everything including their loved ones and their homes.

The bench asked the state government to provide the details about the number of ‘zero FIRs’ registered in the state torn by ethnic violence and the arrests made so far.

A zero FIR can be filed in any police station regardless of whether the offence was committed within its jurisdiction.

“We would also want to know the package for rehabilitation being provided to the state for affected people,” it said.

Earlier in the day, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the state government, told the bench the Union of India has no objection if the apex court decides to monitor the investigation in the cases of violence.

The top court called for evolving a broad mechanism to deal with violence against women and asked how many FIRs have been registered in such incidents in the state since May.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the two women who were seen in the May 4 video being paraded naked, said they have filed a petition in the apex court.

The supreme court had on July 20 said it was “deeply disturbed” by the video and that using women as instruments for perpetrating violence is “simply unacceptable in a constitutional democracy”.

Taking cognisance of the video, a bench headed by the chief justice had directed the Centre and the Manipur government to initiate immediate remedial, rehabilitative and preventive steps and apprise it of the action taken.

On July 27, the Centre informed the top court it has transferred the probe into the case involving the two women to the CBI and asserted the government has “zero tolerance towards crimes against women”.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in an affidavit filed through its Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, also urged the top court to transfer the trial of the case outside Manipur for its conclusion in a time-bound manner. Seven people have been arrested in the case so far.

Scores of people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court on Monday described the violence perpetrated against women in strife-torn Manipur as of “unprecedented magnitude” and refused to consider a plea on similar alleged incidents in opposition-ruled states, such as West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala.

The top court, which was hearing a batch of pleas related to the ethnic violence in Manipur, was told by lawyer Bansuri Swaraj that incidents of violence against women in West Bengal also need to be considered and the mechanism sought to be evolved should be made applicable in other states as well.

“The daughters of India need to be protected,” Swaraj said, adding, “After the horrific incident (of two women paraded naked) of May came to light in Manipur, identical incidents took place in Bengal and Chhattisgarh.”

“A video came to light in which a mob disrobed a panchayat poll candidate and paraded her nude in a village in the district of Howrah (in West Bengal). Another candidate was also paraded nude during the panchayat poll violence. No FIR has been registered,” the lawyer said.

“Crimes against women take place all over the country. This is part of our social reality. Presently, we are dealing with something which is of unprecedented magnitude and pertains mainly to the crimes and perpetration of violence against women.

“There is a situation of communal and sectarian strife … In Manipur. So what we say is that there is no gainsaying that there are crimes against women taking place in West Bengal as well,” the bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said.

The bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said presently, it is hearing pleas related to Manipur.

It said the incidents of crime committed against women in Manipur cannot be equated with similar incidents in other parts of the country.

“If you have really something to assist us on that (Manipur), then please assist us,” the CJI said.

Swaraj said she has filed an intervention application in the case and referred to incidents of crime against women in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala.

“We will hear you on that later… We are dealing with Manipur right now,” the CJI said.

Whatever mechanism the court is proposing to set up should be made applicable to the other states as well and the remedial steps should not be confined to Manipur alone, Swaraj said.

“In the case of West Bengal, it is equally grave because violence against women is ultimately used to punish the electorate. Indira Jaising says there are 5,995 FIRs in Manipur and 9,304 FIRs have been lodged in West Bengal, only 3 per cent (of the accused) are incarcerated and 97 per cent perpetrators are roaming free,” the lawyer said.

The conscience of the civil society has all of a sudden woken up in the case of Manipur, she added.

“What happened in Manipur cannot be condoned. But bone-chilling facts are coming to light in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala after the incident (of two women paraded naked) took place in Manipur. Kindly set up the mechanism not for Manipur only,” Swaraj said.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :