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Supreme Court Urges Concrete Action on Sexual Violence: Seeking Justice and Redressing Women’s Safety in Manipur

Apex Court Stresses Need for Effective Measures to Tackle Widespread Gender Violence (Supreme court)

New Delhi, 31 July (City Times): The Supreme Court (SC) convened on Monday to address the alarming issue of sexual violence against women in Manipur and stressed the need for concrete steps to combat the prevalent gender-based assaults in the region. Hearing a petition filed by two tribal women who had endured a horrific ordeal of being paraded naked and sexually assaulted in Manipur, the court acknowledged the importance of securing justice for these survivors while also highlighting the broader challenge of violence against women in the state.

Transparency Demanded as Court Seeks Details of FIRs and Relief Package from Centre and Manipur Governments

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the court pressed the Centre and the Manipur government to devise modalities for effectively addressing the larger issue of sexual violence against women. It called for comprehensive action to create a safer environment for women in the region and demanded immediate details of all FIRs registered in cases of violence against women from both the central and state governments. (Supreme court)

The SC’s call for information on the number of FIRs, particularly in relation to gender violence cases, reflects its determination to ensure that appropriate action is taken in each instance. With approximately 6,000 FIRs requiring careful examination, the court sought particulars such as zero FIRs, actions taken, status of legal aid provided, and progress in recording statements from victims and witnesses.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the survivors who had suffered the brutal assault, asserted that the Manipur Police had collaborated with the mob during the incident, which allowed the perpetration of the heinous act of sexual violence.

The petitioners urged the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct a thorough probe into gender violence cases in the state, underlining the significance of impartial and comprehensive investigations in these sensitive matters. In response, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured that the Central Government would not object to the SC monitoring the investigation. He expressed the willingness of the Centre to cooperate fully in the pursuit of justice. (Supreme court)

Advocate Indira Jaising, representing the intervenors, put forth the suggestion to establish a High Powered Committee, tasked with conducting a ground report on sexual violence cases. She emphasized that creating an atmosphere where women feel safe to share their stories is essential for an effective resolution.

Further, advocate Vrinda Grover recommended the appointment of local commissioners by the court to take concrete actions concerning the relief camps, ensuring that the survivors receive the necessary support and assistance they deserve.

The court responded by indicating that it may consider constituting a committee comprising retired judges and subject experts, tasked with recording statements of victims in the violence-stricken state. Such a measure would ensure transparency and comprehensive examination of the issues at hand. (Supreme court)

Additionally, the hearing on an application related to a similar incident in Bengal was deferred, with the court asserting its focus on the Manipur case at present.

Expressing astonishment over the 18-day delay in registering the FIR, the court reaffirmed its commitment to “restoring the faith” of the affected community in the constitutional process and ensuring that justice is diligently pursued.

The Supreme Court will reconvene to review the Centre’s response detailing the actions taken in connection with the disturbing incident. Earlier, the Central Government had informed the court that the investigation had been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and requested the entire case, including the trial, to be transferred to a state outside Manipur for an impartial inquiry. (Supreme court)

The firm stance taken by the apex court reflects its unwavering commitment to addressing the issue of gender violence and ensuring justice for the survivors. With the hope of ending impunity and bringing perpetrators to account, the court’s efforts hold the promise of a safer and more equitable society for women in Manipur and beyond.

To read News in Hindi.

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