The Supreme Court on Monday said that a committee of three women former High Court judges will oversee the investigation and take measures for relief, compensation, and rehabilitation of violence victims in Manipur.
The committee members include Justice Gita Mittal, former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Shalini Joshi, and Justice Asha Menon. Additionally, IPS officer Dattatray Padsalgikar, known for his exceptional record and experience in various crucial assignments, has been appointed to be a part of the committee.
“It will pass a slew of directions in relation to Manipur violence cases to restore a sense of faith in the rule of law and build a sense of confidence,” the SC said, adding that the three former female HC judges will look at diverse aspects of humanitarian nature.
As per the SC direction, DGP Manipur Rajiv Singh also appeared before the SC after he was summoned by the court in connection with the violence in Manipur.
With regards to the investigation of the 11 FIRs on crime against women (CAW), the SC noted that the Centre has decided to entrust 11 FIRs to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI); so the SC said that it will allow the transfer of the 11 FIRs to the CBI.
However, it will also include five officers from the rank of at least deputy SP, if not SP, drawn from other states to ensure that there is a sense of faith and an overall feeling of objectivity, the apex court said.
The SC stated that the officers will be functioning within the administrative set up of the CBI.
Clarifying the role of the CBI in the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta emphasised that the CBI officers are on deputation and, therefore, will be involved in the investigation process.
The Special Investigation Teams (SITs) assigned to handle the cases will be supervised by DIG ranked officers from outside Manipur, ensuring impartiality and transparency in the process where each officer will monitor six SITs to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the investigation.
Addressing concerns about public faith in the rule of law, CJI Dy Chandrachud asserted that the investigation process aims to restore confidence in the legal system. To supplement the efforts, an additional oversight committee, consisting of a former IPS officer with extensive investigative experience, will provide further scrutiny and reporting directly to the Supreme Court, he added.
Further, the SC said that to oversee the CBI investigation, who will be reporting back to the court, IPS officer Dattatray Padsalgikar (former Maharastra DGP and Mumbai police commissioner) was identified.
As regard to the state police investigation, the SC noted that the statement of the state that it will constitute 42 SIT to look after cases which are not transferred to the CBI.
“It will order to include at least one inspector from other state police forces. Further, the state SITs will be supervised by six DIG rank officers, who are from outside the state of Manipur,” the SC said.
During the proceedings, various parties presented their concerns and grievances.
Senior advocate Colin Gonslaves for Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi submitted that the core ring leaders, who are behind the violence, should be arrested and cautioned that until that is done, the violence will not abate.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh submitted that there are foreign militants involved in the violence and the victims are not from one particular community alone. These foreign militants have automatic rifles and the basic issue is poppy cultivation which funds them, he said, adding that these foreign militants can just go over and come back from the border.