Manipur Violence: SC refuses to entertain PIL seeking directions to constitute a commission of enquiry to resolve differences between Nagas, Meiteis, and Kukis

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On December 11, 2023, the Supreme Court of India comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice JB Pardiwala declined to entertain a fresh PIL filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The PIL sought directions to constitute an enquiry commission to resolve differences between three ethnic communities, Nagas, Kukis, and Meiteis, of the Manipur. During the court proceedings, the bench noted the submissions of Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan who appeared for the petitioners. He said, “My lords the reason is this-we have to take a step back and take a look at the fact this Court, unfortunately, or fortunately is the one institution everybody is looking towards in situations like this…You have done in the past which is why I am saying, a commission of enquiry which sits and just maybe a former judge of this Court to get these communities together at a table…because this is continuing my lords…You’re going to have representatives of various communities at each other’s throats some accusing the government of India, others accusing the government of Nagaland, nobody is attempting to ensure that there is some truce.”

The SC bench referred to a three-member committee constituted by the top Court on August 07 this year to examine the nature of violence against women and report on measures needed for social, economic, rehabilitation, emotional, and psychological support of the victim. This committee was headed by Justice Gita Mittal. Considering this, CJI said, “If you want, You can go to Justice Gita Mittal (committee) with a specific issue on what can happen and what can be done if she says I don’t have a remit then come back to us.” Further, the SC said that in case there are specific grievances then they can be brought before the committee headed by Justice Mittal. In this context, the CJI pointed out, “Unless there’s a clear way forward that we envisage that our intervention will lead to a certain situational change in the ground, otherwise what happens is you know, expectations are aroused, that well you know the Court is not doing something. It is going to divert the attention, it is the responsibility of the executive to do this…Us taking on a road in which we can never do, we have no means to ensure performance on the ground only affects our legitimacy.” Lastly, the bench refused to entertain the PIL filed by three petitioners, a public-spirited citizen, a law student, and a victim.