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Manipur Police 'Deliberately' Omitted Key Provisions Of IPC, SC/ST Act In Sexual Violence FIRs: Women-led Group Tells Supreme Court

The group claimed that there is a deliberate omission by the police to invoke Section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code, which specifically defines the offence of rape during sectarian violence, in the FIRs lodged by the police, which effectively "shields the culprits" from strict penalties under the Act

Zo-Kuki women protest in Manipur
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A women centric citizens' network that filed intervention applications seeking for the formation of independent Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the violence in Manipur under the supervision of the Supreme Court, claimed that there is a deliberate omission by the police to invoke Section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code, which specifically defines the offence of rape during sectarian violence, in the FIRs lodged by the police.

Section 376(2)(g) of the IPC orders that the one who commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine.

The intervention applicants include Women in Governance-India (WinG-India) a network of academics, social workers and women's rights activists along with We the Women of India (WWI), a citizens' network group created to address issues faced by women. 

No updates on investigation/arrests

WinG-India, represented by Advocate Vrinda Grover, in its application contended that the families of two Kuki women- aged 24, who were tortured and gang raped in Imphal by a mob of Metei men, have received no updates on the investigation undertaken or arrests made (if any), according to a report by LiveLaw. The families wish that the post mortem be conducted outside Manipur and the report be handed over to them. 

Deliberate omission of Section 376(2)(g)

The application by WinG-India also contended that there is a deliberate omission by the police to invoke Section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code, which specifically defines the offence of rape during sectarian violence. Relevant sections of the SC/ST (POA) Act were also not invoked in the FIRs, the application said as per LiveLaw.

Claiming that this exposes this exposes the "partisan, defective and prejudicial investigation" being conducted by the local police, the application says that the culprits are being shielded from strict penalties under the Act and the victims are being denied the rights guaranteed under the said Act. Hence, the group sought for an independent probe into the killings along with medical aid for surviors of the violence outside of the state.

Action against police

The WWI, represented by Advocate Shobha Gupta FIR sought from Supreme Court, the registration of an FIR "against the complacent and erring police officials" and against all the assailants/ accomplices/ perpetrators who all were seen in the May 4 video. It also sought for the forming of a team of retired lawyers and judges, including women, to visit the violence-affected state and assist the victims in registering their FIRs.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court questioned the delay on part of the state police in registering an FIR after the May 4 incident. "What was the police doing from May 4 to May 18?" CJI DY Chandrachud asked. 

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