Manipur violence: SC sets up panel of 3 former women HC judges to look into relief & rehabilitation

 As Manipur sank deeper in ethnic violence, the Supreme Court on Monday announced setting up of a committee of three former women high court judges to look into relief and rehabilitation of those affected.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said the committee will be headed by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal and include Justices (retd) Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon.

The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said the effort of the apex court is to restore a sense of confidence and faith in the rule of law in the state.

It said besides the judicial panel that will oversee relief and rehabilitation efforts among other things, senior police officers will be asked to supervise the investigation in criminal cases to be probed by the state SITs.

The bench said a detailed order will be uploaded on the apex court website later in the evening.

During the hearing, Manipur DGP Rajiv Singh appeared before the bench to answer queries on the ethnic violence and the steps taken by the administration so far to check it, besides the segregation of cases for the purpose of effective investigation.

Attorney General R Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the state government, submitted a report, which the apex court had sought on August 1, on issues including the segregation of cases.

“The government is handling the situation at a very mature level,” the attorney general told the bench.

The government law officers said the state government proposed to set up Special Investigation Teams (SITs), headed by the superintendent of police at the district level, to probe sensitive cases. The CBI has been asked to investigate 11 cases.

On August 1, the top court had said there was a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery in Manipur.

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It had rapped the state police for a “tardy” and “lethargic” probe of incidents of ethnic violence, especially those targeting women, had summoned the DGP to answer its queries on August 7.

The Centre had urged the bench that instead of the two FIRs related to a video showing women being paraded naked by a mob, 11 out of 6,523 FIRs linked to violence against women and children may be transferred to the CBI and tried out of Manipur.

The bench is hearing around 10 petitions related to the spiralling violence, including those seeking court-monitored probe into cases, besides measures for relief and rehabilitation.

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