The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a fresh PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to intervene and restore law and order in ethnic violence-hit Manipur, besides setting up a panel of experts to prepare a report on the underlying causes for the crisis and suggest remedial measures.
A bench comprising Chief justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the PIL petitioners, and said a committee was already looking into the issues related to the violence and other aspects.
“There was a need for a committee which can get all the communities to the table,” the senior lawyer, assisted by advocate Neha Rathi, said.
“This court has already constituted a committee chaired by Justice (retired) Gita Mittal. It's open to make a representation to the committee. At this stage, we believe that broad and general reliefs would not result in anything,” the bench said.
It asked petitioners Yumlembam Surjit Singh, Keisham Arish and Laishram Momo Singh to approach the Justice Gita Mittal panel.
“The instant petition in Public Interest is being filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking directions to the Union of India to restore law and order, and peace in the State of Manipur and also to constitute an expert committee to prepare a detailed report on the root cause of the issue and suggest possible remedial measures.
“The present petition is being filed to protect and secure fundamental rights of the people of Manipur guaranteed under Article 21, 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.
The top court is already hearing a batch of petitions on the ethnic violence in the state and had set up a committee of three former HC women judges to take stock of the situation and suggest corrective measures.
Manipur descended into chaos and untrammelled violence in May over a high court order directing the state government to consider including the non-tribal Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
More than 170 people have been killed and several hundred others injured since ethnic violence first broke out in the state on May 3 when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for ST status.
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