India Supreme Court hears Manipur violence petitions News
© JURIST (Neelabh Bist)
India Supreme Court hears Manipur violence petitions

The India Supreme Court heard a batch of petitions on Monday related to the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur. Among the petitions were one from the Kuki tribe seeking protection from the Indian Army and one challenging the Manipur High Court’s direction to consider the inclusion of the Meitei community in the scheduled tribe list. The court also took suo moto cognizance of a video depicting a sexually violent incident with two women in Manipur.

During the proceedings, the court discussed the various issues and emphasized the need to address the underlying causes of the violence and restore the community’s faith in the constitutional process. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud stated, “Our idea is ultimately that we restore the faith of the community – in the constitutional process. That’s the message we need to send.” Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, senior advocate Indira Jaising suggested the establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee to address the underlying causes of the violence, like the court suggested.

The court also stressed the importance of addressing the various offenses impartially—irrespective of the parties involved. The court required that the government provide a statement detailing first information report (FIR) timelines, witness statements and arrests. To avoid overburdening India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the court suggested the implementation of a mechanism to bifurcate the 6,500 FIRs that have already been filed. During the hearing, the court also questioned the state police’s capability and delay in registering FIRs in the region.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the court that the government would undertake necessary actions, such as transferring some FIRs and directing officers to prioritize and address sexual violence cases.

Hearings will resume at the court on August 7, which provides the government an opportunity to present their actions and responses thus far in Manipur. As it stands now, any further intervention from the court depends on the government’s actions in response to the situation.