1 Aug 2023 11:26 AM GMT
While hearing the batch of petitions concerning Manipur violence, the Supreme Court on Tuesday contemplated the formation of a committee consisting of former judges of the High Court to make an overall assessment of situation, rehabilitation, restoration of homes and to ensure that the pre-investigation processes relating to recording of statements go in the proper way.During the hearings,...
While hearing the batch of petitions concerning Manipur violence, the Supreme Court on Tuesday contemplated the formation of a committee consisting of former judges of the High Court to make an overall assessment of situation, rehabilitation, restoration of homes and to ensure that the pre-investigation processes relating to recording of statements go in the proper way.
During the hearings, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud expressed concerns about the "lethargic" and "tardy" investigation conducted by the state police thus far. The bench, also comprising Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, weighed its options on how to proceed, given the lack of trust in the state police's ability to handle the sensitive case effectively.
During the deliberation, CJI Chandrachud floated the idea of forming a broad-based committee comprising former High Court judges to oversee the proceedings. The primary focus of this committee would be to decide on matters related to relief, compensation, and rehabilitation for the victims of the clashes. Additionally, the committee would ensure the government's actions are supervised. He remarked–
"We are thinking out loud- we may think of constituting a committee consisting former judges of High Courts. It will be a broad based committee. First we will decide on the remit of the committee such as relief, compensation, rehabilitation- to sort of supervise the work of the government."
At this juncture, a key issue was raised by the court, namely the need for a fair investigation. CJI Chandrachud stressed the importance of taking statements from victims who might have left Manipur, emphasizing that location should not be a hindrance to justice. The court also acknowledged the impracticality of entrusting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with the investigation of over 6,500 FIRs pertaining to the clashes. Similarly, it expressed reservations about relying on the state police for the task due to previous concerns about their performance. In this context, the CJI said–
"The recording under Section 164 statements has to be taken irrespective of where the victims are. Many have left Manipur but statements have to be taken. We would like the SG to take instructions on this- on who will investigate? We are not in the situation where the state police carries out the investigation. So we'll need a mechanism - in which case what do we do? We're clear about the fact that entrusting CBI will investigation of 6500 FIRs is impossible. At the same time, state police can't be entrusted. So what do we do? Come back on that."
The Supreme Court also made it clear that their approach would be based on data and objectivity. Regardless of the identity of the perpetrators or victims, the court stated that an offense is an offense, and justice should prevail irrespective of any external factors. The CJI remarked–
"I repeat, our approach is irrespective of whoever has committed the offence. Offence is an offence regardless of who is victim or the perpetrator. There are eminent counsels on both side. And that's fine because all perspectives should come. But we will be driven by data and that is how we will maintain objectivity."
The Court will consider the matter next Monday.
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