Probe delay: SC summons Manipur DGP

The Asian Age.  | AMRESH SRIVASTAVA

India, All India

The top court said the state police have lost control over the law and order situation

Supreme Court of India (ANI)

New Delhi: There is a complete breakdown of law and order and of the constitutional machinery in Manipur, an outraged Supreme Court observed on Tuesday while describing the investigation carried out by the state police as “tardy” and “too lethargic” and also summoned the state’s DGP on the next date of hearing on Monday.

Castigating the law enforcement agencies over the unbridled ethnic violence, the top court said the state police have lost control over the law and order situation and demanded the personal presence of the director-general of police when it hears a clutch of petitions on the mayhem in the Northeast state on August 7.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, which had called as “deeply disturbing” the May 4 video of two women being paraded naked, sought details from the state government about the date of occurrence of the incident and registration of “zero FIR” and regular FIR in the case.

While hearing the case on the second consecutive day, the court also wanted to know how many accused were named in the over 6,000 FIRs registered so far and the steps taken for their arrest.

“The investigation is so lethargic, FIRs are registered after so long, arrests not made, statements not recorded… There is a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery in the state,” Justice Chandrachud remarked.

“One thing is very clear -- there is a long delay in registering the FIR in the video case,” he observed.

As the hearing began on Tuesday afternoon, the Manipur government told the bench it has lodged 6,523 FIRs after the ethnic violence erupted in Manipur in May. Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Manipur government, told the a bench the state police had lodged a “zero FIR” in the case of stripping and parading of the two women naked.

Mr Mehta told the apex court that the Manipur police have arrested six persons and apprehended a juvenile in the video case. It appears that the state police recorded the statement of the women after the video surfaced, he said.

A zero FIR can be lodged at any police station irrespective of its territorial jurisdiction, which is later transferred to the police station within whose limits an incident has happened.

Earlier in the day, the top court directed the CBI not to proceed with recording the statements of the victim women during the day as it is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions on the issue at 2 pm.

The bench, also comprising justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, took note of the submissions by lawyer Nizam Pasha, appearing for the two women, that the CBI has asked them to appear and depose before it during the day.

On Monday, the top court had described as “horrendous” the video amid reports that the police handed the helpless women over to the rioting mob. It asked searching questions about delayed registration of the FIR and mooted the idea of setting up a committee of retired judges or an SIT to oversee the probe.

The apex court had said that it may constitute an SIT or a committee comprising  former judges to monitor the situation in the strife-torn state subject to hearing the law officers representing the Centre and Manipur.

Describing the Manipur violence perpetrated against women in the strife-torn state as of “unprecedented magnitude”, the apex court on July 31 refused to consider a plea on similar alleged incidents in Opposition-ruled states, such as West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala.

 “There is a situation of communal and sectarian strife… in Manipur. So what we say is that there is no gainsaying that there are crimes against women taking place in West Bengal as well,” the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had remarked.

 Tormented by unabated ethnic violence, tension soared in Manipur after a May 4 video surfaced recently that showed two women from one of the warring communities being paraded naked by a mob from the other side.

 

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