New Delhi, August 1: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the CBI to abstain from recording statements of the survivors who were paraded naked and sexually assaulted in Manipur, as the top court is slated to hear the matter today at 2 p.m. The direction was passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud after advocate Nizam Pasha made an urgent mentioning and told the court that the CBI is going to record statements of witnesses this noon. “Let CBI await hearing at 2 p.m.,” Pasha said.
The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to communicate its oral directions to the concerned officials to not proceed with recording of statements in relation to FIRs registered by the CBI.
“I will, Milords. I am not in touch with the CBI officials. It must have been in good faith,” submitted S.G. Mehta, adding that the other side will allege “inaction” if the central probe agency does not proceed to record statements in the case.
A bench comprising CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra will continue to hear Tuesday at 2 p.m. the petition filed by the two tribal women in relation to the disturbing incident along with the clutch of pleas related to inter-ethnic clashes in the north-eastern state.
On Monday, the Supreme Court indicated that it may constitute a committee comprising retired judges and subject experts to record statements of victims in the violence-hit state.
It has sought bifurcation of around 6,000 FIRs which were registered in the violence-hit state. It had called for details like zero FIRs, action taken, position of legal aid, status of recording of statements of victims and witnesses, etc., from the Centre and the state.
The CJI-led bench has expressed surprise for the delay of over 18 days in registration of FIR. "What stood in the way of police registering the FIR immediately on the 4th of May?," asked S.G. Mehta.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for survivors of the crime, who were paraded naked, has opposed the transfer of the probe to CBI and demanded for the formation of an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe gender violence cases.
“The extent of our intervention would also depend on what the government has done so far. If we are satisfied with what the government has done, we may not even intervene,” the court has clarified.
Attorney General R. Venkataramani has opposed the formation of an SIT, saying that the state government having no role in the investigation would be an “extreme view”.
The Central government had earlier informed the top court that investigation in the incident has been transferred to CBI and requested it to order transfer of the entire case, including trial to any state outside the state of Manipur. On July 20, the Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognizance of the disturbing viral videos and directed the Centre and the state government to take immediate action and apprise it about the steps taken.