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Manipur video: "Zero tolerance towards any crimes against women", Centre to SC

New Delhi- The Centre on Thursday through its affidavit informed the Supreme Court that the approach of the Central government is of “zero tolerance towards any crimes against women” and apprised it that it has decided to transfer the case of the viral video of two women to the CBI. The Central government has taken a decision, with the consent of the Manipur government, to entrust the investigation of the viral video of two women to the CBI, the affidavit stated. It added, “This is one of the reasons why the Central government [with consent from the State government] has taken a decision to entrust the investigation to an independent investigating agency i.e. CBI.” Several Police teams have been formed for mass operation at several locations to arrest identified culprits and an Additional SP rank officer has been entrusted to investigate the case, under the constant supervision of other senior police officials, it added. “Subsequently, the government of Manipur vide letter dated July 26, 2023, has recommended Secretary, DOP&T for entrusting the case to CBI for further investigation, which has been duly recommended to Secretary, DOP&T by MHA vide letter dated July 27, 2023. The investigation shall thus, be transferred to CBI,” the affidavit read. “The Central Government considers the offences like the present one to be too heinous which deserve to be taken not only with the seriousness it deserves but justice should be seen to be done so that it has a deterrent effect throughout the nation with respect to crimes against women,” Centre said in its affidavit on the viral video of two women in Manipur. It further stated that regarding the unfortunate and unacceptable incident of sexual assault and violence on two women in Manipur, Union Home Ministry has been continuously monitoring developments of the case after it came to light. Centre added that the State government has informed it that during the investigation, seven main accused have been arrested and are in police custody for further examination. It recommended that a trial of the case should be conducted outside of the state and it should be completed within six months. “The Central government also believes that not only the investigation should be completed at the earliest but the trial should also be conducted in a time-bound manner which must take place outside the State of Manipur.” “The Central Government, therefore, makes a specific request that the entire case including trial of the offence in question, be ordered to be transferred by this Court to any State outside the State of Manipur. The power to transfer the case/trial outside any State is only with this Court and therefore, the Central government is making this request to this Court to pass such an order with a further direction to conclude the trial within a period of six months from the date of the filing of chargesheet by the CBI,” Centre added in its affidavit. Earlier, the apex court had said it was “deeply disturbed” by the video which has emerged in which two tribal women were seen parades naked and molested and asked the Centre and State to take action against the perpetrators. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra said it was “simply unacceptable” and using women as an instrument in violence is unacceptable. Taking suo motu cognisance of a video that emerged online last week, the bench asked the Centre and State to appraise the step taken on the issue. "Simply unacceptable. Using women as an instrument in an area of communal strife to inflict gender violence is deeply disturbing. This is the grossest of constitutional abuse and human rights violations. We are deeply disturbed by the videos which have emerged. If the government does not act, we will," CJI said. The bench said it must be apprised of the steps taken by the governments so that perpetrators are booked for such violence and what steps are taken to prevent such incidents in future. The bench noted that the “video may be from the month of May, but that does not make any difference". “What is portrayed in the media and visuals which appeared shows gross constitutional violation and infraction of human life using women as instruments of perpetrated violence is against constitutional democracy. Let Centre and State apprise court on steps taken," the top court ordered.

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