India’s Supreme Court denies deployment of Army, paramilitary forces in Manipur

The bench in its order said that at this stage, we are of the view that some suggestions merit consideration by state administration.


Supreme Court [File Photo]

July 12, 2023

NEW DELHI – Asking the warring Meitei and Kuki groups to maintain equilibrium, not to make hate speeches and precipitate situation, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined a plea for the deployment of Army and paramilitary forces in certain areas stating that the law and order fell in the domain of the executive (government).

Refusing to accede to a plea by Manipur Tribal Forum seeking the deployment of Indian Army and the paramilitary forces for providing security and prevent further attacks in the Kuki inhabited areas and villages, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud heading a bench also comprising Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Justice Manoj Misra urged the warring parties to maintain a sense of equilibrium and not participate by making hate speech.

However, the bench ordered the Manipur government to ensure protection of lives of the people. It further asked the Manipur government to consider inclusion of a Kuki MLA in the committee to oversee the relief camps and ensure proper facilities.

Asking the lawyers appearing for different outfits fighting at the ground level to approach the things objectively and in a non-partisan perspective, CJI Chandrachud said, “As a court we have to show a clear balance because we stand away from the contention. Once we enter the frame, we lose our objectivity. We have to stand apart.”

Refusing the prayer for the deployment of army and paramilitary forces in certain areas of violence hit Manipur, Chief Justice Chandrachud said, “In the last 72 years, we haven’t issued such directions to the Indian army… civilian control over the army is the greatest hallmark of democracy. We cannot breach that.”

Having made it clear that the top court will not venture into an area that falls in the domain of executive, Chief Justice Chandrachud further said, “We are of the view that it will not be appropriate for the court to direct army and paramilitary forces. At the same time, we would impress upon the Union of India and state of Manipur to ensure arrangements to protect lives of citizens of Manipur.

Appreciating what CJI Chandrachud ordered, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said, “I am grateful for this observation, even though in general terms.”

Chief Justice Chandrachud said that we will do., but where exactly a particular battalion should be deployed – that’s a dangerous area for us (court) to get into.

In accordance with yesterday’s (July 10) order, a number of suggestions were submitted by different advocates and the same were considered by the count.

The bench in its order said that at this stage, we are of the view that some suggestions merit consideration by state administration. Order said that the state administration shall take a considered view on disbursal of compensation and the reconstruction of places of worship that have been destroyed.

On other suggestions, the bench asked the State administration to take positive action within three days.

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