News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

Manipur HC Modifies 2023 Order on Meiteis in Scheduled Tribe List

Manipur HC
Photo Credit : News Karnataka

Guwahati: The Manipur High Court has revised its previous year’s directive regarding the potential inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribes list, a move that had sparked significant ethnic tensions in the northeastern state. Today’s detailed order omitted the instruction to the state government to promptly consider adding Meiteis to the Scheduled Tribe list, a decision that had provoked objections from the Kuki community.

Since May of the previous year, over 200 individuals have lost their lives in the state, and the region remains unsettled.

The High Court, in its latest ruling, referred to a prior Supreme Court constitution bench order outlining the procedure for adding or removing tribes from the Scheduled list. This responsibility lies with the Central government, with courts having no jurisdiction over it. The Supreme Court had also emphasized that courts cannot alter the ST list.

In its earlier judgment, the High Court had directed the state to expedite the consideration of Meitei inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list, preferably within four weeks. However, today’s order by Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu noted that this direction contradicted the Supreme Court’s decision in State of Maharashtra v. Milind & Ors, which prohibits courts from modifying the ST list. Consequently, the directive at Para No. 17(iii) was removed.

The Supreme Court had questioned the directive issued by former Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran on March 27, 2023, when the Kuki community challenged it. During a hearing in May last year, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud strongly criticized the order, describing it as “objectionable.”

While the court did not revoke the order due to a pending case in a division bench, today’s revision does not signify the end of the road for Meiteis’ inclusion in the Scheduled list.

Discussions between the state and the Centre are ongoing, with the Centre expected to independently proceed with the matter. On May 29 last year, the Centre had requested the state to submit its recommendations and relevant points, based on which the Centre would make a decision. However, the state has yet to provide these recommendations.

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