Manipur Violence: SC directs Centre and State government to ensure distribution of basic essentials to people affected by blockades, hearing on September 06.

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Today, the Supreme Court (SC) of India directed the Indian Government (Centre) and the State government of Manipur to ensure the proper distribution of basic supplies including food and medicines to those affected by the Manipur violence. The order was passed in relation to the issues mentioned, by a three-women committee constituted to look after the humanitarian aspects of the Manipur violence, before the bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala. The SC order reads, “We direct the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to distribute a basic supply of food, medicine, and other essentials so that there is no denial of basic human facilities. The manner in which the blockade is dealt with is under law enforcement. However, considering the humanitarian aspect of the matter, the Government should explore all options including air-dropping necessity if necessary. The court shall be apprised of the steps taken to ameliorate the situation in the next hearing (September 06, 2023)."

During the Court proceedings, two issues were listed by Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora appearing for the judges’ committee including blockades in the Moreh region of Manipur and another one was an outbreak and chickenpox in some relief camps. To this, the CJI asked SA why they directly approached the top Court rather than the government. Further, he directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta “to send a formal notice of nodal officers appointed to the Committee so that the Committee could reach out directly to the government.” Further, in concern to the issue of blockades, SA Indira Jaising stated “There is no food in Moreh area. The problem is blockade. The committee cannot direct the armed forces to remove the blockade…otherwise, we can provide the food supply.” In this context, CJI said “Removing a blockade is not about directing the armed forces to do it. There are sensitive issues. What we will do is that we will say that the government is aware of the fact and that the government will take appropriate steps after evaluating the situation because the blockade is also made by people.”

Further, a petition regarding the destruction of 602 churches in the state was presented before the bench by SA Huzefa Ahmadi. To this, the CJI responded, “We had also requested the committee to go into the issue of destruction of schools, places of worship- so that restoration can take place…We have heard Mr. Huzefa Ahmadi on petition for destruction of 602 churches. The petition’s copy is to be served on Mr. Raj Bahadur, who is instructing the SG. Note be sent to committee and state government so that appropriate action is taken.” After hearing all the contentions, the SC bench listed the matter for the next hearing on September 06, 2023