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Business News/ News / India/  Manipur High Court deletes 2023 order para recommending ST status for Meiteis that led to ethnic clashes
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Manipur High Court deletes 2023 order para recommending ST status for Meiteis that led to ethnic clashes

The Manipur High Court has now deleted the paragraph from its March 27 judgment and said that the ruling was passed in 'misconception of law'

Manipur has been roiled by ethnic violence since May 3 last year (HT_PRINT)Premium
Manipur has been roiled by ethnic violence since May 3 last year (HT_PRINT)

The Manipur High Court on Thursday modified its 2023 order in which it recommended the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Meiteis community. The ruling led to widespread protests in Manipur and sparked ethnic clashes, which killed more than 200 people since May 3 last year. The High Court has now deleted the paragraph from its March 27 judgment and said that the ruling was passed in “misconception of law."

"Accordingly, the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) needs to be deleted and is ordered accordingly for deletion," a bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu said in an order as per Bar and Bench.

The now-deleted paragraph of the March 27 order stated, "The first respondent shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order in terms of the averments set out in the writ petition and in the line of the order passed in W.P.(C) No. 4281 of 2002 dated 26.05.2003 by the Gauhati High Court."

The judgment was passed by then-acting Chief Justice of Manipur High Court MV Muralidaran. The Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the issue and Justice MV Muralidaran was subsequently transferred to Calcutta High Court.

‘Against SC’s observations': Manipur High Court

On Thursday, the Manipur High Court held that the above paragraph was against the observations made in the constitution bench of the Supreme Court in a case concerning Scheduled Tribe classifications.

"...I am satisfied and of the view that the direction given at Para no. 17(iii) of the single judge dated March 27, 2023...which is impugned herein needs to be reviewed, as the direction given at Para no. 17(iii) of the single judge is against the observation made in the constitution bench of the Supreme Court," the high court said in its 19-page verdict.

In its November 2000 verdict, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said, "Courts cannot and should not expand jurisdiction to deal with the question as to whether a particular caste, sub-caste; a group or part of tribe or sub-tribe is included in any one of the Entries mentioned in the Presidential Orders issued under Article 341 and 342 particularly so when in Clause (2) of the said Article, it is expressly stated that said orders cannot be amended or varied except by law made by Parliament".

Approximately 53% of the population in Manipur consists of the Meiteis, primarily residing in the Imphal Valley. The remaining 40%, comprising various tribal groups such as Nagas and Kukis, predominantly inhabit the hill districts.

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Published: 22 Feb 2024, 05:09 PM IST
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