The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider providing security to the family of a Manipur youth who was killed in a road rage incident involving Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s son Ajay Meetai. The court was hearing a plea by Irom Chitra Devi, the mother of the victim Irom Rojer, claiming that they were living in fear of their lives and no lawyer in the state was willing to take up their case seeking higher punishment for Meetai.
A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta gave Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh time to seek instructions from the Centre on providing protection by central security forces to Rojer’s parents. Justice Sikri observed, “If we go by common sense, nobody is going to give such statement against the Chief Minister unless there is some substance in it.”
Initially the court directed the Manipur government to provide security to the couple. But senior counsel Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Chitra Devi, pointed out that the couple were “hiding” in New Delhi and so the Centre should provide security. To this, ASG Singh said that protection can be given only after the threat perception to the couple is evaluated, and that he needed time to take instructions. “We have already written to them (Manipur government). We will evaluate the situation and act accordingly,” he said
The parents sought directions “to provide security for the safety of the life and liberty of petitioners and their family members against any kind of threat and victimisation for their peaceful stay throughout India”. “In January, the petitioners (parents) approached several lawyers in the High Court of Manipur at Imphal, to file an appeal against the judgment of the sessions judge, Imphal (West), but all the lawyers they approached refused to represent them due to the influence and clout of the Respondent No 3 (CM), more so, in view of the fact that nobody could dare to stand up against the chief minister, home minister of the state,” the plea said.
Meetai was convicted and given a five-year prison term for shooting and killing Rojer on March 20, 2011. According to police, Meetai was driving an SUV and was irked when Rojer refused to let him overtake his vehicle.
The apex court had on May 22 sought response from the Centre and the state on the plea of Rojer’s parents, who claimed that they were being threatened and that family members were being implicated in false cases.