Committee of three former women HC judges will be looking at things apart from investigation, SC on ethnic Manipur violence

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In relation to the ethnic violence in Manipur, the Supreme Court of India proposed a committee of three former women judges of the High Court to investigate as well as look into rehabilitation issues in the related cases. The SC said “Our efforts are to restore a sense of confidence in the rule of law. We will constitute at one level a committee of three former HC judges. This committee will be looking at things apart from investigation-including relief, remedial measures, etc.” Justice Gita Mittal, Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, and Justice Asha Menon will be the members of the committee. Along with this, the CBI investigation will be overlooked by former Maharashtra DGP Mr. Dattatray Padsalgikar IPS and the other five officers of DySP rank. The bench hearing the matter further ordered, “There will be 42 SITs looking at cases which have not been transferred to CBI. These SITs should be supervised by DIG-ranked officers from outside Manipur. Each officer will monitor six SITs to see that the investigation is going correctly.” 

Today, the Centre told the Supreme Court that District-wise SITs will be formed for conducting the probe related to violence. Yesterday (August 07), Manipur DGP was present during the hearing to answer the queries on ethnic violence. In this context, Attorney General R Venkataramani stated that “Without allowing any external investigation, let SITs be formed at district levels”. During the SC proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that in case of more than 11 FIRs against women's violence, the probe will be performed by district-level SITs headed by a Superintendent of Police rank officer (will be women). He added, “The CBI team, which will be investigating this, has two lady SP officers. CBI has officers from all across the country. We have taken that balance.” 

During the proceedings, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising suggested a two-fold approach which is the investigation and prevention of further crimes. Moreover, Advocate Nizam Pasha said, “They’re calling it an SIT but it is selected by state… the allegations are against the state police - ranging from active participation to perpetration. The concern of selection doesn’t get elevated if the selection is by state cadre. Selection should be by the court. For public prosecutors, it should be law officers from other states.” Arguing further, the Centre pointed out that it may not be appropriate to trust the police with the investigation of ethnic violence in Manipur. SG replied, “It may not be appropriate not to trust the police officers. For the proposed committee to be constituted by the Supreme Court, let judicial officers alone be included, not the civil society groups.” Today, the SC bench heard 10 petitions related to the violence seeking relief.

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