New Delhi, Nov 24 : The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the “orientation” of the Manipur government over extra-judicial killings in the state and reprimanded it for drawing a parallel with the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are already under the court’s scanner over contentious encounters.
“What do you mean when you talk about Maharashtra and Gujarat? Are you saying that since people are getting killed there, so people will get killed in your state too?,” questioned a Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam, expressing its displeasure at the stand by Manipur in its affidavit.
Manipur, in its response to a PIL which alleged 1,528 extra-judicial killings in last 30 years in the state, had requested the court to consider this matter along with two other pending cases relating to encounter killings.
In one case, the SC is adjudicating a plea over 99 encounters in Maharashtra between 1995 and 1997 while in the other, the Gujarat government has filed a writ asking for framing a uniform national policy to independently investigate all the encounter cases in the country and further direct such an agency to probe all encounters in the past 10 years.
The Bench, however, termed Manipur’s affidavit as “strange”. It also expressed displeasure over another submission pointing that militancy, and its difference from ordinary law and order problem, also necessitating a law like the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act.
“Is there a war going on in your state? Your men killing theirs and their men killing yours? Is this the orientation of the state?,” asked the Bench.
It also disapproved of an attempt to offer National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as an “alibi” while requesting the court to interfere only if it was of the view that the NHRC, which has already dealt with the instances cited in the PIL, has failed to perform its duty.
Citing 10 specific cases of extra-judicial killings that the PIL described as most glaring, the affidavit read that the state had furnished reports to the NHRC and in none of these, the commission recorded violation of human rights.
“You are using NHRC as an alibi. We cannot allow this,” said the Bench, while calling a senior law officer from the Centre. After an Additional Solicitor General arrived, the Bench, asking him to take this matter “in all seriousness”, said it will hear the matter on December 6 and hence by December 4, the Centre should also file its response to the PIL.