Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Nov 06 2012, 00:57 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday took strong exception to the Manipur government’s delay in filing a report on alleged extra-judicial killings in the state and told them to start working on it within 24 hours considering innocent people were reportedly getting killed.

“Take this matter seriously. It is not a simple civil suit or a case of partition. Innocent people are dying out there. They are being killed. Start working on it in 24 hours. Do it quickly,” said a Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam after Manipur’s counsel sought four weeks to file an affidavit in response.

The court, however, gave the state time till November 21 to file its reply and fixed the matter for further hearing for November 23.

The Bench asked the petitioner to ensure bringing the matter into the knowledge of the Attorney General so that Centre could be represented properly. It asked the National Human Rights Commission to assist the court.

The apex court had on October 1 issued notices to the Centre and state government on a plea for an independent probe into around 1,500 such cases. It was hearing a PIL initiated by an association of the families of the alleged victims, pleading with the apex court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases.

The association claimed that despite so many extra-judicial killings, no one has been held guilty till date. The petitioner said that innocent people with no criminal record had been killed by the security forces and no proper investigation had been carried out in such cases.