16 Sep 2023 4:28 AM GMT
In the matter pertaining to Manipur violence, the Supreme Court today clarified the means through which the statements of the victims and the witnesses were to be taken. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra issued the clarification in response to a letter received by the Supreme Court from the Manipur High Court seeking clarity in this...
In the matter pertaining to Manipur violence, the Supreme Court today clarified the means through which the statements of the victims and the witnesses were to be taken. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra issued the clarification in response to a letter received by the Supreme Court from the Manipur High Court seeking clarity in this regard.
The court issued the following clarifications–
1. The statements under Section 164 CrPC shall be recorded by the local magistrate designated by the Chief Justice of Manipur High Court.
2. If the victim/witness is situated outside Manipur, the statement shall be recorded by magistrate having jurisdiction in the area the victim/witness is located.
3. After the statement is recorded, it shall be remitted to the additional magistrate in the State of Assam.
4. The Test Identification Parade shall be conducted by local magistrate in State of Manipur.
These directions are pertaining to cases which are being handled by the Special Investigation Teams in Manipur and not the cases related to sexual violence which have been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier asked the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court to designate Courts in Guwahati to handle the pre-trial steps of CBI cases. It was held that applications for remand, extension of custody, issuance of warrants etc., can be virtually made by the investigating agency before the designated Courts in Guwahati, Assam. The Court further stated that the victims and witnesses will be at the liberty to give evidence virtually from their places in Manipur, instead of travelling physically to the Assam Courts.
Prior to this, as regards investigation, the Court had noted that the Centre has decided to entrust 11 FIRs relating to sexual violence to the CBI. The Court said that it will allow the transfer of these cases to the CBI. However, it will also include 5 officers from the rank of at least DySP if not SP drawn from other States "to ensure that there is a sense of faith and an overall feeling of objectivity". The Court clarified that these officers will be functioning within the administrative set up of the CBI. Further, the Court had said that it will add "one more layer of security" by appointing one officer to oversee the CBI investigation, who will be reporting back to the Court.
Concerning the State police investigation, the Court noted the statement of the State that it will constitute 42 SITs to look after cases which are not transferred to the CBI. For these SITs, the Court said that it will order to include at least one inspector from other State Police forces. Further, the State SITs will be supervised by 6 DIG rank officers who are from outside State of Manipur.
Before that, the Supreme Court had slammed police investigation as "tardy". The bench had noted that the FIRs were registered several days after the occurrences and the arrests have been very few.
Case Title: Dinganglung Gangmei v. Mutum Churamani Meetei And Ors Diary No. 19206-2023
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