In their resolutions, the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) and the Supreme Court Bar Association have highlighted the inaction of the state machinery and the police to control the violence.
TODAY, the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) and the executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) joined the growing chorus of voices condemning the sexual assault and violence committed against two women in Manipur.
The two associations passed resolutions condemning the shocking incident, a video of which has surfaced on social media and other media platforms featuring a mob parading two naked women and touching and jeering them.
The incident reportedly took place on May 4 but was publicised only on Thursday, after the video began to be widely circulated.
On Thursday, a three-Bench judge of the Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and also comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and Manoj Mishratook suo moto cognisance of the horrific visuals.
The Bench directed the Union home secretary and the secretary for the state of Manipur to file affidavits detailing the immediate steps— remedial, rehabilitative and preventive— taken before the next hearing, which is scheduled for July 28.
The Bench termed the visuals a “gross constitutional violations and infractions of human rights” which is “simply unacceptable in a constitutional democracy”
Manipur has been witnessing strife since May 3 due to ethnic tensions between tribal Kukis, who are majorly Christian and live in the hills, and the majority Meitei community, that is predominantly Hindu and lives in the Imphal Valley.
Expressing deep shock over the videos, the SCAORA’s resolution states, “Our collective heads hang in shame against this grossest of human rights violation.”
The SCAORA resolution highlights that the incident reflects the failure of the state machinery to protect the basic human rights of citizens.
The resolution also asserts that the incident shows that the state has not been able to “control the riots in the state”.
The resolution also strongly objects to the registration of illegal first information reports and arrests against advocates and activists who are “endeavouring to help the riots-struck victims and families”.
Through its resolution, the SCAORA expresses its appreciation of the Supreme Court for taking suo moto cognisance of the incident and for directing the Union and state governments to inform the court of the steps taken to hold the perpetrators accountable and to ensure such incidents are not repeated.
The SCAORA resolution also shares the concerns expressed by the CJI that “Using women as an instrument in an area of communal strife to inflict gender violence is deeply disturbing.”
In its resolution, the SCAORA resolves to provide any or all assistance to the Supreme Court to ensure the perpetrators of the sexual violence are held accountable, including offering pro bono legal assistance to victims affected by the violence in Manipur.
Inaction of state police
The SCBA’s executive committee remarks in its resolution that the incident has “tarnished humanitarian ethics to the core”.
It emphasises the consequences on the physical and psychological well-being of the victims of gender-based violence.
The executive committee condemns the inaction of the state police to take action against the perpetrators and tackle the “debilitating” violence in Manipur.
It calls upon the Union and state governments to take necessary steps and the citizens to respect each other’s rights and freedoms to maintain peace in the state.