New Delhi: To “restore a sense of faith in the rule of law” in violence-hit Manipur, a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dr Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud, today constituted a committee of three retired high court judges. They will monitor the investigations into the ethnic clashes between Kuki tribals and Meiteis that continue in the state since May 3, 2023, and have claimed hundreds of lives since then, and “build a sense of confidence”.
The Apex Court’s brief to the high-powered committee, to be headed by a former chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice (retired) Geeta Mittal, is to oversee measures for relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding of homes in Manipur. The other members are Justices (Retired) Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon. While directing the formation of the committee, the apex court also ordered the provision of adequate security to its members.
The Supreme Court bench, which took suo motu cognisance of a video of two women being sexually assaulted and paraded naked in Manipur, also appointed former Maharashtra Director General of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar to oversee investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and report back to the Court.
The State Government told the Apex Court that all 12 FIRs involving crimes against women will go to the CBI and the top court also directed that five officers of at least Deputy Superintendent of Police rank should be brought into the CBI from various states for the investigation of the cases of rape and sexual assault.
Noting that there will be 42 Special Investigation Teams (SITs) looking at cases which have not been transferred to CBI, the court directed that these SITs should be supervised by Deputy Inspector General ranked officers from outside Manipur. “Each officer will monitor six SITs to see that the investigation is going correctly,” the court said.
Attorney General R Venkataraman told the Court that the State government was handling the situation “at a very mature level”.
– global bihari bureau