D.Y. Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) summoned both Attorney General and Solicitor General, the two topmost law officers of the government on July 20 to convey that the court is “deeply disturbed” by the visuals of a woman paraded naked and sexually assaulted in strife-ridden Manipur. The CJI gave the Centre and Manipur government an ultimatum to either bring the perpetrators to book or step aside for the judiciary to take action.
Manipur violence updates
The court had always maintained that its judicial intervention in the Manipur violence would only extend to “humanitarian issues”. It had portrayed itself as a platform to facilitate the restoration of peace in the State. The court had placed its trust in the Centre and the State to provide security for the people caught in the violence.
The Chief Justice’s remarks came immediately after the court assembled for the day’s work. Both Attorney General R. Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were already waiting in the front row of the courtroom.
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“We called you because the court is deeply disturbed by the visuals which have appeared in the media,” a three-judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India addressed the two law officers.
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Taking suo motu cognizance of the video, the court said the visuals indicate “gross constitutional violations and infractions of human rights”.
“Using a woman as an instrument of perpetrating violence in a charged atmosphere is simply unacceptable in a constitutional democracy,” the court accentuated in its order.
Chief Justice Chandrachud said it did not matter if the video was not a recent one and from May.
“What matters is that this is just simply unacceptable. This is the grossest of constitutional and human rights. We are expressing our deep concern. We will give the government a little time to take action or we will take action,” Chief Justice warned.
Mr. Venkataramani assured the court he would convey its concern to the government.
Mr. Mehta, who has been appearing for the Manipur government in a series of separate cases related to the violence, said “We share the concern of the court”.
The Supreme Court ordered, “We direct both the Centre and the Manipur government to take immediate steps and to appease the court on what action has been taken… We are of the view that the court must be apprised of the steps taken by the government to hold the perpetrators accountable and also to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the strife in Manipur.”
The court listed the suo motu case for hearing on July 28.
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