Why were you silent over allegations of rape: Apex court asks Army
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the Army asking why it had maintained silence over allegations of rape and murder against its personnel in Manipur and questioned the state government for not proceeding with these cases against them.
The apex court asked the Manipur government to explain whether it was a "sheer helplesness" on their part or a "tacit understanding" that they would not proceed against the Army personnel despite there being serious allegations of rape and murder against them.
"You may have two alleged rapists. Why you have kept quiet," a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for the Army and the Assam Rifles.
Responding to the query, the Attorney General said, "these are allegations only. The question is whether rape was committed by the Army personnel".
The court posed this query to Rohatgi after it was told that there were allegations against two Army personnel that they had raped a 15-year-old girl in 2003 following which she had committed suicide. The bench was also told that an inquiry commission report had also indicted some officials of Assam Rifles in a separate case in which a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted before being shot dead in Manipur.
When Rohatgi said an inquiry was conducted on the allegations of rape, the bench shot back, "we would want to know what kind of inquiry you have conducted. We would like to see the inquiry report also".
The Attorney General also said that state government had set up commission to inquire into these matters but it had no power to do so.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Manipur told the bench that "in cases where personnel of armed forces are involved, we have stopped from proceeding ahead". To this, the bench said, "the reports clearly suggest that the girl was subjected to rape. You are creating a stonewall and you do not want to break that stonewall. You have not tried anything. You have not asked the Army to handover the custody of the alleged culprits".