The Supreme Court on Monday asked former Maharashtra Director General of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar to monitor the Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the ethnic violence in Manipur, PTI reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also appointed an all-women committee of three former High Court judges headed by Justice Gita Mittal to oversee rehabilitation of victims in the northeastern state.
Other members of the panel are Justice Shalini P Joshi, a retired Bombay High Court judge, and Justice Asha Menon, a former Delhi High Court judge.
The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions related to the ethnic clashes between the Kuki and Meitei communities. At least 187 people have been killed and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes since the violence broke out on May 3.
The state has reported cases of rape and murder, mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.
On Monday, the three-judge bench said that the committee of three former high court judges will oversee relief, remedial and rehabilitation measures besides restoration of homes and places of worship.
“The broad outline is to use whatever in our power is to restore faith in rule of law,” the Supreme Court said, reported Bar and Bench.
The court also clarified that it was not “casting any aspersions” on the Central Bureau of Investigation by ordering Padsalgikar to oversee its probe, according to Live Law.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into 11 cases of sexual assault in the state, the court noted and said that it was adding “one more layer of security”.
The bench proposed that at least five officers, not below the rank of deputy superintendents of police, be brought into the central agency on deputation from various states.
The officers will be functioning within the administrative set up of the central agency and may be supervised by an officer of the rank of joint director in the Central Bureau of Investigation, the court said.
The judicial committee and Padsalgikar have been asked to submit separate reports to the Supreme Court in the matter.
For the other cases, which are with the Manipur Police, the state government said it has formed 42 Special Investigation Teams.
The court ordered that the Special Investigation Teams should have at least one inspector from another state. The teams will also be supervised by six deputy inspector general rank officers from outside Manipur.
At the last hearing on August 1, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Manipur Police saying that there has been an absolute breakdown of the law and order machinery in the state.
“They may have made performative arrests but they were not in charge,” Chief Justice Chandrachud had noted. “Either they were incapable of doing it or were uninterested.”
Following the court’s observations, Manipur Director General of Police was present at the hearing on Monday.