Manipur violence: Supreme Court frowns upon HC order directing state to consider Meiti tribe for ST list

The Supreme Court has previously observed that the HC order went against several Constitution bench judgments which held that changing the Scheduled Tribes list is a Presidential power.

Supreme Court of India | Manipur violence
The Supreme Court stopped short of staying the order since it was already under appeal before a division bench of the Manipur HC. (PTI photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday came down on the Manipur High Court for directing the state government to consider the inclusion of the Meitei tribe in the list of Scheduled Tribes. In strong remarks against the High Court’s direction, the apex court said that it was inclined to stay the order but stopped short of doing so since the appeal against the order is pending before the division bench of the Manipur High Court.

“I think we have to stay the order of the High Court. We have given Justice Muralidharan time to correct himself but he did not. I mean it’s very clear what to do if High Court doesn’t follow constitution judge benches,” Live Law quoted Chief Justice of India DY CHandrachud as saying.

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The order under question directing that the state shall consider the inclusion of Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list was issued by a single-judge bench of acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan. It is this order which is at the centre of the current unrest in Manipur.

In the previous hearings, the CJI had observed that the HC order went against several Constitution bench judgments which held that judicial orders cannot be passed to change the Scheduled Tribes list, as it is a Presidential power.

At the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also submitted a status report indicating the steps taken to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the state, details of relief camps, compensation made available in the account of death and other losses, security measures taken to protect religious places, transportation of aggrieved persons, and registration of FIRs amongst other things.

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The report states that there has been significant improvement in the situation in the state and there are numerous initiatives, including the setting up of relief camps and deployment of the Army /Assam Rifles, taken by the state government to restore normalcy and maintain law and order.

The status report further states that a writ appeal has been filed before the Manipur High Court and a notice has been issued in the same. The matter will now be heard by the High Court of Manipur on 6 June 2023.

(With Live Law inputs)

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First published on: 17-05-2023 at 17:31 IST