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Manipur violence: SC formed committee to investigate, including 3 women judges

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Manipur violence: The Supreme Court has constituted a committee of three retired high court judges to investigate cases of brutality against women in Manipur. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud constituted a three-member committee headed by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal and comprising Justices Shalini Joshi and Asha Menon. The court appointed former IPS officer Dattatreya Padsalgikar to supervise the CBI probe.

After hearing both sides, the Supreme Court said that it would appoint a committee of three retired High Court judges. Our effort is to restore a sense of faith in the rule of law. Apart from the investigation, this committee will also look into other things, including relief, remedial measures, etc. The court said that the CBI will investigate 11 FIRs related to crimes related to women, but 5 DSP level officers from different states will be included in these.

The Chief Justice said that 5 DCP level officers would be brought on deputation to CBI to supervise the investigation of 11 FIRs. These officers will also work at the four corners of the administrative setup of CBI and will be supervised by Joint Director, CBI. The Chief Justice said that we have identified the officers. In retired judges from Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice Gita Mittal, Justice Asha Menon, and Justice Shalini Joshi have been included in the three-member judicial inquiry committee.

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Handing over the investigation of the FIR to the CBI, the court said that five high police officers would investigate them. They will be brought on deputation from different states. The Supreme Court entrusted the investigation of violence cases to former Maharashtra IPS officer Dattatreya Padsaljilkar, who will supervise all investigations related to the violence and hand over the investigation to the court.

The Chief Justice said that the investigation of crimes against women will be done by the CBI only, but five officers of the rank of Deputy SP from other states will be taken into the CBI for an independent and impartial investigation. In the police investigation of the remaining cases, 42 SITs will be formed, which will be headed by an officer of the rank of SP. Apart from this, SP rank officers will supervise the SIT.

During the hearing today, Attorney General R Venkataraman presented the chart attached to the FIR. He told the court that the government is handling the matter at its own level. We have separated the statements and events related to the incident. The Attorney General said that the investigation is going on with a mature approach keeping all the aspects in mind.

Many districts are affected by this. The Attorney General said that broadly based on the analysis of the FIR and the nature of the offenses, we have separated it. At the district level, murders will be investigated by SP-level officers, while sexual offenses will be investigated by all-women investigating officers.

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Earlier during the arguments, the court was told that the murder happened to other women. For the investigation of crimes, higher officers and competent women police officers are investigating crimes related to women. The DIG is reviewing the progress in the investigation on a weekly basis, while the DGP is reviewing it every 15 days. The Attorney General said that we are trying to understand the ground situation. For the time being, all we want is the restoration of peace. He said that during this time even a small mistake can have a very deep impact.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that six SITs have been formed. SP and DSP level officers are monitoring the investigation of the cases. Competent women officers have been included in the SIT formed to investigate crimes related to women. Mehta said that there is no doubt that 11 FIRs will be handed over to the CBI, but apart from them, the SIT will also investigate the FIRs related to crimes against women.

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During the hearing, advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that no FIR has been registered even under Section 166A of the Indian Penal Code, which makes the authorities liable for not taking action. This also needs attention. Advocate Indira Jaising said that it is necessary to pay attention to two aspects of this matter. The first should be the investigation of the case and the second should be the prevention of violence. Work needs to be done so that nothing like this happens in the future.

Still, the struggle is going on. Therefore, along with investigation, prevention of crime should also be considered. He said that the court should form a commission under the leadership of a retired judge for investigation or get the investigation done under his supervision. For this, all possible resources and sources should be used, which may include local people, competent civil society organizations, social workers, and some of the affected people.

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Indira Jaising said that during the Nirbhaya incident, it was revealed that the police were not doing their job properly. Hence 166A was brought into the Indian Penal Code by the amendment of 2012. 166A states that police officers who do not perform their duties will be punished. We are demanding the implementation of this section.

Tushar Mehta said that whenever a hearing is about to be held in the Supreme Court. A day before, some big incident happens in Manipur, don’t know whether it is a coincidence or something else. On the issue of the transfer of dead bodies, Mehta said that the DGP told that he has the numbers of several nodal officers who would hand over the dead bodies. We are here if there is any difficulty. Advocate Vishal Tiwari demanded that the committee probe it and it should be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

Advocate Nizam Pasha said that the SIT is selected by the state. And many of the allegations are against the state police as well. The state ranges from active participation in the matter to the crime itself. In such a situation, if the selection is done from the state cadre. When questions will arise.

So the selection should be done by the Supreme Court. Advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that the case of loot of ammunition was against the state administration itself. They were allowed to loot. This is a very serious allegation because the weapons made the violence worse.

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Lawyer Colin Gonsalves said that when there is a riot. The main role is played by the leaders, they should be identified. They are only 10 or 20, but well connected. Some parts of the investigation should also focus on the individuals who hatched and executed this conspiracy. Advocate lawyer Maninder Singh said that terrorist groups from across the border are involved in this incident. It is not just one community, but all communities are affected.

He said that the basic issue is the cultivation of opium from which he gets a lot of money. They can just go across the border and come back from the border. Because the fencing on the border is in a very small area. He said that Melites from abroad are also involved in Manipur violence. And have weapons like AK-47s and automatic rifles. There is fencing on only a 10-kilometer border. It is very easy to come and go to the other side of the border.

 

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