A Single Judge Bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu reserved judgement on review petition of inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribes status order.
It should be mentioned that there were no written submissions from either, on a petition to review the controversial March 27 order on inclusion of Meitei in the ST list.
Earlier, the initial order, authored by the erstwhile Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan had directed the state government to send a proposal on inclusion of Meiteis in the ST list, to the Union government, which led to widespread protests from existing ST communities in the state.
While, the Supreme Court called the acting chief justice order as incorrect, allegedly triggered the ethnic conflict that began on May 3 between the dominant valley-based Meitei people and the hill-based Kuki-Zo people who are classified as ST.
Meitei Tribes Union, which was the original petitioner in the case, cited the Supreme Court’s remarks to seek a lesser relief of a consideration as opposed to a direction.
Advocates representing tribal bodies say the purpose of filing the review petition was to indirectly derail the appeal proceedings.
Meanwhile, the third-party appeal filed by tribal bodies such as the All-Manipur Tribal Union and others, appealed the High Court to not to pass directions for consideration of inclusion without application of mind and looking at concerned records.
In the review case, the tribal bodies’ application to be impleaded was rejected by the court, given that they had already filed a third-party appeal. Following this, the court heard arguments in the matter, and has repeatedly sought a response from the Manipur Government and the Union government on the review petition but to no avail.
According to case records, advocates representing the Manipur government submitted that despite repeated requests seeking instructions on filing the reply, authorities insisted on seeking more time to file a reply.
Similarly, the Deputy Solicitor General of India representing the Union of India in the matter, also sought more time to seek instructions on the subject of filing a reply till as late as December, even though the court had sought responses in June.
Ultimately, in the last hearing on December 21, the Special Government Advocate representing the Manipur government submitted that the matter of review is between the petitioner and the court and hence the court can go ahead and decide the matter without taking the government’s submissions. Accordingly, Justice Gaiphulshillu reserved the judgement on the review petition on December 21, posting the matter next for March 2024.