17 May 2023 10:54 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed law enforcement in the State of Manipur to take appropriate action on the apprehensions raised by the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi that imminent attack on tribals in certain villages was being planned by militant organisations. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing pleas concerning the...
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed law enforcement in the State of Manipur to take appropriate action on the apprehensions raised by the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi that imminent attack on tribals in certain villages was being planned by militant organisations. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing pleas concerning the ongoing unrest in the State of Manipur and also directed the law enforcement agencies to take into consideration other grievances highlighted in different IAs.
Law Enforcement to take action upon apprehensions of violence
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi, referring to certain villages said–
"These are villages where attacks are likely to happen. The Indian army must protect these persons. Because the police are on the side of assailants. 18 people have been killed...Let the army go to these villages. Day by day attacks are happening...Planning is taking place by two very militant organisations...the Chief Minister knows."
Upon this submission, the bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud directed–
"Certain apprehensions have been expressed on behalf of petitioners. They have sought appropriate directions so that steps can be taken in sensitive areas. The apprehensions be taken into account by authorities who are monitoring the situation. A copy to be sent to Chief secretary of State of Manipur together with the Security Advisor."
This was followed by Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing in an IA filed by the High Court Bar Association of Manipur, submitting–
"There are illegal immigrants coming in from porous borders of Myanmar and they're creating these issues. They want to settle here. They're into big poppy cultivation and drugs. This is the larger issue which is happening. The militant camps are coming out of Myanmar..."
The bench, in his order, added–
"The apprehensions set out in other IAs shall also be taken into account by law enforcement authorities as directed above. Let the government of Manipur give us a fresh status report after reopening of court."
We cannot decide who is responsible, law and order is a state subject: CJI DY Chandrachud
Upon multiple IAs being mentioned before the court, the Supreme Court orally stated that there had been allegations from both the ends and it was not within the remit of the court to decide who was responsible as some matters are entrusted to the political realm. The court stated that its duty was to direct law enforcement to ensure peace and tranquility in the state and the same had been done. However, it refused to enter into the arena of politics.
CJI DY Chandrachud said–
"There are allegations from both sides. We can't go ascertain the allegations by either sides. We have flagged those concerns and we have said that they're being filed by both sides and we've directed the security officers to take in account all of it and ensure peace and tranquility. We can't say who is responsible for this...law and order is a state subject. We as the Apex Court can ensure that they don't turn a blind eye...We must also a court understand that some matters are entrusted to the political arm."
When different parties continued mentioning their IAs before the bench, CJI DY Chandrachud remarked–
"This is not a very legal proceeding now...We will not allow our forum to be dragged into areas which are politics and policy. We know the remit of the constitutional court."
Restraint to be exercised from making openly communal statements: CJI DY Chandrachud
Advocate Nizam Pasha, appearing in an IA contended that officers should be restrained from making statements which are openly communal as they will eventually harm the State and deepen the unrest faced by the State of Manipur. He said–
"The officers are making communal statements..."
Taking the same into account, CJI DY Chandrachud asked the Solicitor General to ensure that some restraint is exercised in this regard. The SG replied in an affirmative to the same.
In the last hearing, the Court had recorded the statement of the Union Government that no violence had taken place in the State of Manipur in the last two days and that normalcy was returning to the State. The Supreme Court had asked Union to ensure that due arrangements are made in relief camps in terms of food and medicines. The Court further told the Union Government to ensure that steps are taken to rehabilitate displaced persons and to protect places of worship.
During the hearing, the bench also made certain critical observations about the High Court direction regarding ST status for Meitei community. The bench had said that there were several judgments of the Supreme Court which hold that the High Court cannot direct the grant of ST status to a community.
Solicitor General Mehta, on behalf of State of Manipur, submitted a status report indicating the steps taken to ensure maintenance of law and order in the state, details of relief camps, compensation made available in account of death and other losses, security measures taken to protect religious places, transportation of aggrieved persons, and registration of FIRs amongst other things.
As per the status report, there had been significant improvement in the state. The state government, as per the report has taken various steps to bring normalcy to the state