SC criticizes Manipur government for ethnic violence, labeling it a “complete breakdown of constitutional machinery.”

The Supreme Court, during Monday’s hearing, strongly criticized both the Manipur government and the state police for their failure to uphold the “constitutional machinery” between May and July, amid the turmoil in the state. The court expressed concern over the poor law and order situation, stating that the state police seemed incapable of conducting proper investigations.

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The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, along with Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, was handling a series of petitions related to the violent incidents in Manipur. It summoned Manipur DGP Rajiv Singh to personally explain the delay in the investigations into cases of “heinous nature.”

The court demanded tabulated data of FIRs categorized by the nature of offenses, indicating that the future course of action would be determined based on this information. The Solicitor General representing the Centre informed the court that 11 FIRs were filed regarding sexual assaults against women during the strife in Manipur, proposing that all 11 cases be handed over to the CBI for investigation.

One significant incident the court highlighted was the horrifying video incident on May 4, where two tribal women were paraded naked, with the court terming the violence against women in the state as “horrendous.” The court sought details of the FIRs and the number of arrests made in such cases.

Earlier, the Supreme Court instructed the CBI to suspend recording the statements of the tribal women victims until the main case is heard. It also indicated the possibility of forming a panel to record the survivors’ statements and forming a Special Investigation Team to probe the May 4 incident.

The women victims themselves filed a plea in the court, opposing the CBI’s probe into their case and requesting security. They further asked for their statements to be recorded under Section 164 of CrPC by the nearest area magistrate and sought a probe into their case by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the court’s supervision. The court had scheduled further hearings on the matter for Tuesday.

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