While hearing petitions on the ongoing conflict in Manipur, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud remarked on Monday, 10 July, that the Supreme Court is not responsible for maintaining law and order and emphasised that this duty falls under the purview of the elected government.
"This is not the platform where we do this. We should be conscious of the remit of the Supreme Court. We cannot run the law and order, elected government does," he orally observed, according to NDTV.
CJI Chandrachud said this while responding to Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is representing the Kuki community. Gonsalves had sought the Supreme Court's intervention to address the situation in Manipur.
Since clashes erupted between the Kukis and Meitis in early May, more than 150 people have lost their lives and many others have been injured.
Chief Justice Chandrachud, in response to Gonsalves' allegations of "state-sponsored violence" in Manipur, expressed the court's reluctance to allow the platform to be used for escalating the violence further, NDTV reported.
Gonsalves accused the BJP-led state government of fueling the violence by supporting armed groups involved in the clashes. He claimed that the state was utilizing armed groups listed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Chief Justice countered Gonsalves' argument, stating that the Supreme Court was not the appropriate forum for such matters. He stressed the importance of being mindful of the court's jurisdiction, reiterating that law and order issues are the responsibility of the elected government.
Recognising the situation as a humanitarian crisis, Chief Justice Chandrachud acknowledged the court's substantial power while emphasising the need for caution. He urged the petitioners to present constructive suggestions to address the ongoing crisis.
During the hearing, the court took note of the status report filed by the Chief Secretary regarding the current situation in Manipur. In a previous hearing, the court had requested the state government to provide an updated report on the steps taken to curb the violence and rehabilitate those affected.
Additionally, the court directed the central and state governments to consider the request from the Manipur High Court Bar Association to ensure the clearance of a critical 10-kilometer stretch of highway necessary for essential supplies. The matter will be heard again tomorrow.
(With inputs from NDTV)