New Delhi, August 11: The Supreme Court in its judgment has said that it will monitor the process of investigation in the sectarian violence and strife in Manipur.
It appointed former Maharastra DGP Dattatray Padsalgikar to supervise the CBI investigation into the FIRs transferred to the central probe agency. He will also supervise the investigation into the remaining FIRs registered by the Manipur police.
A bench of CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the objective of monitoring the probe is to ensure that the perpetrators of violence are punished according to the procedure established by law and secondly, to ensure that the rule of law is restored and public confidence in the investigative and prosecutorial process is sustained.
The bench noted that 11 FIRs involving cases of sexual violence against women and children have been referred to the CBI by the state government. It directed that six other FIRs, which were brought to the notice of the court by petitioners, will also be transferred to CBI, if after verification it is found that they also involve similar offences.
"For the purpose of ensuring proper investigation of the FIRs which are transferred to the CBI, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs shall place at the disposal of the CBI five officers drawn from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and NCT of Delhi at least of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. At least one of these five officers shall be a woman," the top court ordered in its judgment, uploaded late on Thursday night.
It said that these officers, who will be nominated by Director General of Police of the above states, will submit periodical information and reports as may be required by Padsalgikar.
The state of Manipur, in its submissions before the court, had proposed to set up 42 SITs to be headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to inquire into murder or any other heinous crime.
For FIRs related to rape, outraging of modesty and other sexual offences, the SITs will also include at least one female Inspector, two female Sub-Inspectors and four women police constables.
The state government said that these SITs will be supervised weekly by an officer of the rank of DIG/ IG/ADG. In addition, the DGP will also monitor these cases fortnightly.
The Supreme Court directed the Union Home Ministry to "make available, on deputation, one officer of the rank of Police Inspector drawn from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and NCT of Delhi".
As per the Supreme Court's judgment, the Union Ministry will "also nominate, on deputation, at least 14 officers not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to be in charge of the respective SITs".
The apex court clarified that the investigation by the SITs constituted for the state of Manipur will also be monitored and supervised by Padsalgikar.
It direced that SIT will visit each relief camp, as many victims may not approach the police machinery of their own, the Supreme Court said.
"The SITs constituted by the state of Manipur shall not consist exclusively of members belonging to either one of the communities involved in the clashes in Manipur," the top court added.
The court directed the Centre and Manipur governments to take stock of the number of arms missing or looted from the armouries of the state and asked them to formulate and implement a plan to recover any missing arms.
The former Maharastra DGP will also investigate allegations that several police officers colluded with perpetrators of violence during the conflict in Manipur.
The above directions were passed by the Supreme Court in the batch of pleas related to inter-ethnic clashes in the northeastern state, including the suo-moto case where Centre and Manipur governments were directed to take immediate steps on the viral video of two young tribal women paraded naked after being raped.
Padsalgikar will submit a report to the apex court within a period of two months, elaborating on the progress which has been made.