Thursday, February 29, 2024

Manipur violence: Committee constituted by the Supreme Court to look into humanitarian aspects submits report

The Committee which was constituted by the Supreme Court to look into humanitarian aspects pertaining to Manipur violence, including relief, remedial measures, rehabilitation measures, and restoration of homes and places of worship has submitted three reports.

The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra directed for the reports to be circulated to the counsels and asked them to respond to the proposed suggestions.

The committee is headed by Justice Gita Mittal (former Chief Justice of J&K High Court), and also consists Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi (former Bombay HC judge) and Justice Asha Menon (former Delhi HC judge).

At the outset, the CJI informed the counsels today that three reports had been filed by the committee.

Following are details on the three reports:

  1. A report highlighting the loss of documents of Manipur citizens in the riots. This report calls for assistance in reconstruction of important documents such as Aadhaar cards etc for such citizens;
  2. A report calling for the Manipur Victim Compensation scheme to be improved and updated bearing in mind the NALSA scheme. For instance, the Manipur Victim Compensation Scheme states that if benefits under other schemes have been received by a victim, no benefit shall be provided to such a person under the Manipur Victim Scheme;
  3. A report proposing the appointment of domain experts for administrative directions. The Bench noted also that certain procedural directions were required in the matter to provide for– requisite administrative assistance; funding to meet financial expenses of the committee; necessary publicity by setting up a work portal; other infrastructure changes.

In this regard, the CJI said–”Suggestions in that regard may be collated by Ms Vrinda Grover in due consultation with the committee which shall be shared with the Advocate General of Manipur by Thursday morning. List the matter on Friday.”

After reviewing the reports, the CJI also underlined that the committee had bifurcated the cases under several heads such as compensation, violence against women, mental health care, medical health care, relief camps, data reporting and monitoring etc.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, requested the bench to permit the committee to have the power to lay down their own procedure. She added that the members of the Committee did not have a place to sit and that Justice Gita Mittal had requested for the Delhi High Court Chief Justice to allot her a place.
To this, CJI DY Chandrachud said–”I will have a word with Justice Mittal and the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. If the Vulnerable Deposition Witness Creation Office can be used by her, it would be fine. If not, then the Ministry of Home Affairs can make the required arrangements.”

In the last hearing in the matter, as regards investigation, the Court had noted that the Centre has decided to entrust 11 FIRs relating to sexual violence to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Court said that it will allow the transfer of these cases to the CBI. However, it will also include 5 officers from the rank of at least DySP if not SP drawn from other States “to ensure that there is a sense of faith and an overall feeling of objectivity”.

The Court clarified that these officers will be functioning within the administrative set up of the CBI.

Further, the Court had said that it will add “one more layer of security” by appointing one officer to oversee the CBI investigation, who will be reporting back to the Court.

As regards the State police investigation, the Court noted the statement of the State that it will constitute 42 SITs to look after cases which are not transferred to the CBI.

For these SITs, the Court said that it will order to include at least one inspector from other State Police forces. Further, the State SITs will be supervised by 6 DIG rank officers who are from outside the State of Manipur.

Before that, the Supreme Court had slammed the police investigation as “tardy”. The bench had noted that the FIRs were registered several days after the occurrences and the arrests have been very few.


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