Plea on Manipur Violence: SC asks petitioner to mention it before CJI

 The Supreme Court on Thursday asked a petitioner, who has sought the constitution of an independent committee under a retired apex court judge to inquire into the incidents of sexual assault and violence in Manipur, to mention his plea for listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud.

The matter was mentioned for listing before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

CJI Chandrachud is not holding court on Thursday.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari, who has filed the petition, told the bench that pending pleas raising the issue concerning Manipur violence are listed for hearing on Friday. He requested that his plea be also listed for a hearing on Friday along with the connected matter.

“Why one more (plea) is required for this purpose?” the bench said, adding, that the top court is already seized of the pleas on the issue.

“Everybody around the country wants to have a say in that,” it observed, adding, “Mention tomorrow before the chief (CJI).”

In his plea, Tiwari claimed that it has been filed against the violation of the rule of law and oppressive brutality, chaos and anarchy being perpetrated in Manipur.

“Recently a video of Manipur got viral showing two ladies who were under capture of mob and were paraded in a disgraceful manner by disrobing them and were subjected to the sexual harassment. This entire incident shocked the nation,” the plea said.

“This matter pertaining to the violence, assault, sexual harassment, rape and riots have been prevailing over months in Manipur yet there has been no action from the Respondent No 1 (Union of India) or Respondent No 2 (Manipur government) in this regard,” it alleged.

The plea said the independent expert committee should be asked to submit its report within four weeks and direction be issued for action against state agencies for alleged dereliction of duty and not complying with the 2013 verdict of the apex court in Lalita Kumari case.

In its judgment in the Lalita Kumari case, the apex court issued a set of guidelines to be followed by police, including making it mandatory to register an FIR under section 154 of the CrPC, if the information discloses the commission of a cognisable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.

If the information does not disclose a cognisable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognisable offence, the apex court had said.

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Tiwari has also sought the court’s direction for a CBI probe into the violence in Manipur.

The apex court, on July 20, observed that it was “deeply disturbed” by the video of two women being paraded naked in strife-torn Manipur, saying that using women as instruments for perpetrating violence is “simply unacceptable in a constitutional democracy”.

Taking cognisance of the video, a bench headed by the CJI directed the Centre and Manipur government to take immediate remedial, rehabilitative and preventive steps and apprise it of the action taken.

At least 150 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

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