In a scathing critique of law enforcement and the government’s response to the ethnic violence in Manipur, the Supreme Court has expressed deep concern over the delay and inefficiency in the police investigation. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, leading the bench, referred to the investigation as “tardy” and “lethargic,” highlighting the delayed registration of FIRs and statements.
APPEARANCE OF STATE POLICE CHIEF
The court has demanded the personal presence of Manipur’s Director General of Police during the next hearing on August 4 to answer the judges’ questions. It has been two months since the state experienced an absolute breakdown of constitutional machinery, raising serious alarm bells.
By demanding the personal presence of the Manipur Director General of Police during the next hearing, the court is sending a clear message about the importance of accountability and the need for answers regarding the delayed registration of FIRs and statements. This move demonstrates the court’s commitment to ensuring transparency and progress in the investigation process.
During the proceedings, the court was provided with a status report submitted by the state government, indicating that a total of 6,523 FIRs were registered, including 11 related to violence against women and children. So far, 252 arrests have been made in connection with these FIRs, but the court questioned the adequacy of these measures. The court’s call for a comprehensive breakdown of the FIRs based on the nature of the crimes committed shows a proactive approach towards understanding the gravity of the violence and ensuring that each case is dealt with appropriately.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that two of the FIRs related to violence against women and children had been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). When asked about the remaining cases, Mehta suggested the possibility of transferring them to the CBI as well.
The court expressed concern over the capability of the state police to handle such a large number of cases and emphasized the need for accountability. It raised questions about the alleged involvement of the police in the mistreatment of women during the violence and demanded explanations for the lack of action against those responsible.
These critical comments by the Supreme Court are likely to fuel demands from the Opposition for the removal of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
The court urged for a comprehensive breakdown of the FIRs, categorizing them based on the nature of the crimes committed, such as murder, rape, arson, looting, outraging modesty, destruction of religious places, and grievous hurt.
THE CALL FOR A COMMITTEE
The court is also considering the possibility of forming a committee to monitor the investigation closely and implement necessary reforms. The court’s call for a comprehensive breakdown of the FIRs based on the nature of the crimes committed shows a proactive approach towards understanding the gravity of the violence and ensuring that each case is dealt with appropriately.