‘Breakdown of constitutional machinery in Manipur’: SC summons DGP

Chief Justice Chandrachud asked, “Have the policemen (who handed over the victims to the mob as per their statements) been interrogated? What is the DGP of the state doing?”

‘Breakdown of constitutional machinery in Manipur’: SC summons DGP

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Chief Minister Biren Singh-led Manipur government saying it has lost control over the state and there is a breakdown of the constitutional and law and machinery, as it summoned the Director General of State Police to be present in the court on Monday – August 7 – to account for all the acts of omission and commission of the state police.

The DGP will have to appear in court to explain the delay in conducting investigations into all these cases. Prior to this, the Supreme Court had summoned the chief secretary and DGP of Gujarat police during 2002 Riots. The Court had also summoned the DGP of Bihar in connection with exploitation of girls in orphanages in Bihar.

Not mincing words over the “tardy” and the “lethargic” manner in which the state police have acted in registering the cases of horrific assault on the women and children, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud heading a bench also comprising Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra said, “One thing is very clear, there is a long delay in the registration of FIRs, recording of the statements of the victims and witnesses. Cases were registered only after the Supreme Court intervened and took cognizance.”


Noting the “lethargic” manner in which police has acted in the grim situation in registering cases in the later part of July of the incidents that took place on May 4, of sexual assault, gangrape of the women, parading them naked on the streets, dragging a woman from the car and lynching her son before her eyes, Chief Justice Chandrachud said, “There is a breakdown of law and order machinery in the State… They have no control over the situation. There is no law and order.”

Stating that the “Manipur police is “incapable of investigating” as police has not been filing FIRs, only seven have been arrested so far in respect of the case where women were assaulted and raped and paraded naked, the CJI Chandrachud said, “If law and order machinery cannot protect people then what is left.”

The court’s strong indictment of the state government and the way state machinery acted in the ongoing three-month long sectarian violence came after Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta submitted report which said that seven persons had been arrested so far in connection with the video of raped women who were paraded naked.

Referring to the statement of the women who were gangraped and paraded naked that they were handed over to the mob by the police, the CJI asked, “Have the policemen (who handed over the victims to the mob as per their statements) been interrogated? What is the DGP of the state doing?”

Even in other cases listed in the report submitted by SG, the court noted that the State police abdicated its responsibility and its every act was clothed with long delays in registering cases, recording statements.

The Solicitor General Mehta informed the court that  6523 FIRs were lodged in the state, of which 11 related to sexual assault on women and 150 of murder. He said that besides two cases that have already been handed over to CBI, other cases of assault on women too can be entrusted to the Central investigating agency.  He said a woman officer of Joint Director rank would be the part of the investigating team to speak to women victims of sexual m assault.

Sharing with the Attorney General R, Venkataramani and the Solicitor General what they intended to do and asking the two to give their suggestions, CJI said that he would appoint a committee of former judges of the High Court to tour the state to ensure that peace was restored, look into relief and rehabilitation of the victims, restoration of burnt and destroyed houses, and the way cases were being dealt with.

Giving a Myanmar and drug mafia angle to the entire Manipur situation, a petitioner referred to the influx of Kukis from across the border and Kuki insurgents’ involvement in the violence. Solicitor General Mehta said that the unclaimed bodies are those of infiltrators who were killed and their bodies are not being claimed by anybody.

In an apparent indication that the court may set up a SIT, CJI Chandrachud said that the CBI would not be able to probe all the 6000 FIRs. The police (accused of complicity in the crimes) cannot investigate either, he said.

In the course of the hearing Justice Pardiwala asked the Solicitor General about the number of schools in the State and the number of students studying there and whether atmosphere was conducive for the students to return to classes.