SC Lambasts Center & Manipur Govt over Slow Investigation in Manipur Violence Case

Rozana Spokesman

News, Nation

Supreme Court Summons Manipur Police Chief, Calls for Urgent Action in Wake of Violence

Manipur Violence Case

NEW-DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a scathing reprimand to both the Center and the Manipur government, expressing grave concern over the state police's inefficiency in investigating the recent violence in the northeastern state. A bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud strongly criticized the authorities for the breakdown of law and order and the slow pace of investigation in Manipur.

"Why is the investigation progressing at such a sluggish pace? The constitutional machinery seems to have collapsed to an extent where even registering an FIR has become impossible. The deteriorating law and order situation is alarming," remarked the bench. It also questioned the delay in registering the FIR and recording statements from the victims of the violence.

Summoning the Director General of Manipur Police for the next hearing on August 7, the Supreme Court probed the non-interrogation of police officers allegedly involved in handing over the victims, as seen in a viral video, to the mob. The victims' statements were recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code), confirming the allegations.

Expressing concern for the safety of the people, the bench questioned the effectiveness of law and order if it fails to protect the citizens. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that the situation in Manipur was gradually returning to normal, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had already initiated an investigation into one of the filed FIRs. He also suggested the possibility of transferring other cases to the CBI.

However, the Supreme Court raised doubts over the CBI's ability to handle the immense workload, stating, "Can the CBI investigate over 6,000 FIRs? What were the police in-charges doing from May 4 to July 27? We need to resolve this issue. Establishing a new mechanism is imperative. We cannot burden the CBI with all 6,500 FIRs." According to a status report filed by the Manipur government, out of the 6,253 registered FIRs, only 252 arrests have been made so far.

In its directives, the Supreme Court ordered the state police to identify FIRs related to serious crimes, such as murder, rape, arson, looting, violation of women's modesty, destruction of religious places, and causing grievous hurt. Additionally, it sought case-wise details, including the date of the incident, date of filing of zero FIR, date of filing of regular FIR, date of recording of witness statements, date of recording of statement under Section 164 of CrPC, and details of the arrested individuals.

The court also called on the central government to furnish information regarding compensation for rehabilitation purposes. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court restrained the CBI from procuring nude images of women in Manipur and recording statements of victims of sexual harassment.

The court clarified that the extent of its interference would depend on the government's actions thus far. If satisfied with the government's efforts, the court would refrain from further intervention. Attorney General R. Venkataramani expressed opposition to the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), arguing that excluding the state government from the probe would be a radical approach.