20 Jun 2023 5:42 AM GMT
The Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice MM Sundresh declined to urgently list the Interlocutory Application (IA) filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum in the vacations. The bench turned down a plea to hear the matter tomorrow or day after tomorrow and listed it on July 3.The matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves who highlighted the urgency of...
The Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice MM Sundresh declined to urgently list the Interlocutory Application (IA) filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum in the vacations. The bench turned down a plea to hear the matter tomorrow or day after tomorrow and listed it on July 3.
The matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves who highlighted the urgency of the matter. He stated that despite assurances given by the government to curb violence, 70 tribals had been killed. He stated that if the court did not hear the matter urgently, more tribals would be killed. To this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said–
"Security agencies are on the ground. Similar prayers were being made before vacations. The court decided to hear it after reopening. Let it be heard after vacations."
"They gave assurance earlier. After assurance, 70 tribals were killed. I'm asking for army protection. It is listed on 17th July. By then, 50 more tribals will be killed."
The IA prays for directions to be passed to the Indian Army to take full control of the law and order and public order situation in the districts of Churachanpur, Chandel, Kangpokpi, Impal East, and Imphal west. It further seeks for an SIT to be established to independently investigate and prosecute those responsible for the assaults on the tribal community in Manipur. The IA also prays for an order directing the registration of FIRs against Kourounganba Khuman head of the "Arambai Tenggol” and President of the“Meitei Leepun", M Pramot Singh. It also seeks joint reparation from the Union of India and the State of Manipur to be paid to the next of kin of the Tribals killed in the assaults, among other things.
However, the bench expressed its disinclination to entertain the IA in the vacation. Justice Surya Kant said–
"This is purely a law and order situation...Court is not required to pass orders for army intervention."
Despite Advocate Gonsalves' plea that the Supreme Court was the last hope for the tribals, the bench stated that the matter would be heard after reopening of the court post court vacations. Justice Surya Kant said–
"We will hear on reopening. 3rd July...Sorry, earliest we can hear is 3rd July."
On May 8, Solicitor General had told the Supreme Court that normalcy was being restored in Manipur. On May 17, while taking note of a status report filed by the State regarding the security arrangements and relief camps, the Supreme Court had asked the law enforcement agencies to act on the apprehensions raised by the Manipur Tribal Forum regarding attacks.
The Manipur Tribal Forum has filed the IA in question stating that the court shall not rely on the "empty assurances" of the Union of India (UOI) as both the UOI and the Chief Minister of the State of Manipur "have embarked jointly on a communal agenda for the ethnic cleansing of the Kukis."
Saying that the Kukis are being ethnically cleansed by an armed communal organisation, the IA prays for the protection of the tribe by the Indian Army since the State and its Police force are not trusted by the tribals. The organization argues that despite assurances given by the Solicitor General in the last hearing, no relief has been granted so far. The IA states–
"After the giving of these assurances over 81 Kukis were killed, 237 churches and 73 administration building/quarter were burnt and 141 villages destroyed and 31410 Kukis displaced from their homes. The assurances of the authorities are not useful anymore and made in a non- serious fashion and are not even intended to be implemented."
The forum also expressed disappointment with the assurances given by the Union Home Minister.
"Just like the assurances given by the Counsel for UOI were empty and meaningless and made with no intention of being honoured, the assurances of the Home Minister it is hoped will not be the same. The Home Minister has to do more than to mechanically repeat assurances given in other situations at other times. The Home Minister must convince the Tribals of Manipur that he is sincere."