Thursday, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud expressed “deep concern” over a video showing two women being paraded naked in Manipur, describing it as “simply unacceptable” and “the grossest of constitutional and human rights violations” and urging the government to take action, adding “otherwise, we will take action if nothing is happening on the ground.”
As soon as the bench, also consisting of Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra, assembled in the morning, CJI Chandrachud turned to Attorney General R Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta — whose presence had been requested — and said, “We asked you to be present because we are deeply disturbed by the video that surfaced yesterday depicting the manner in which these two women were paraded in Manipur. As a council, we wish to express our extreme concern regarding the current situation.”
“I believe it is time for the government to take decisive action, as this situation is absolutely intolerable. “Using women as an instrument to perpetrate gender violence in a region of communal strife is deeply disturbing and simply unacceptable to the court,” he said.
“The most flagrant of constitutional and human rights violations… We will give the government some time to act. Otherwise, we will take action if nothing is happening on the ground. We are aware that the video posted yesterday dates back to May, but that makes no difference… It need not be a video from yesterday. “It is extremely, extremely disturbing,” the CJI stated.
The bench wanted to know what steps had been taken since May to apprehend the perpetrators.
Since May, what steps have been taken to bring the perpetrators to justice? And second, what measures have been taken to prevent a recurrence? Who knows? It could be isolated, or it could not. There might be a pattern.”
“Throughout history and throughout the world, women have been used to perpetrate violence in these situations, but in a constitutional democracy, this is unacceptable,” the CJI stated.
The bench stated that it will consider the matter alongside pending Manipur petitions. “We will issue a brief order. We will bring it up in the Manipur matter, the document stated.
“We have commenced the proceedings in the above petition by requesting the Attorney General and the Solicitor General to appear at 10:30 a.m. The Court is profoundly disturbed by the images that have appeared in the media since yesterday, depicting sexual assaults and acts of violence against women in Manipur. What is depicted in the media would indicate serious constitutional and human rights violations. In a constitutional democracy, it is simply intolerable to use women as instruments of violence, the order stated.
“The court must be informed of the steps taken and to be taken by the government to (i) hold the perpetrators accountable and (ii) prevent a recurrence of such incidents.”
“The Union Government and the State Government are ordered to take urgent corrective, rehabilitative, and preventative measures, and to inform the court of their actions prior to the next affidavit listing date. “Affidavits shall be filed by the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the State of Manipur,” the document stated.
Solicitor General Mehta stated that he shared the CJI’s concern and that the government also has grave concerns. He stated that such occurrences are “absolutely unacceptable.”
After the video surfaced, he said, the government took immediate action to bring the perpetrators to justice, and the outcome will be presented to the court.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on July 28.