Supreme Court disappointed with Manipur High Court over ST direction

Law enforcement agencies directed to consider grievances raised in petitions

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 18 May 2023, 1:20 pm

Supreme Court of India (PHOTO: WikimediaCommons)
Supreme Court of India (PHOTO: WikimediaCommons)

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Wednesday submitted in the Supreme Court that Manipur had moved a writ appeal and asked the single judge of the Manipur High Court to extend to one year, with regard to the High Court direction for consideration of Meitei tribe in the ST list.

“I think we have to stay the order of the HC. We have given justice Muralidaran time to correct himself but he did not,” CJI DY Chandrachud said.

Earlier, Chief Justice Chandrachud had observed that no court can add, subtract or modify
the ST list according to a judgment passed by a constitution bench 23 years ago.

“It is very clear from Milind’s case too - If HC does not follow constitution judge benches,
then what to do?” the CJI added.

Also Read: Meetei ST Demand: High Court extends consideration period for one year

Solicitor General submitted that considering the position on the ground, “We chose not to
seek stay and only seek extension, because it would have an impact on ground situation.”

Advocate Colin, quoting a judgment, submitted that courts cannot and should not intervene
in conferment of status of ST and said law cannot be amended and varied except law made
by Parliament.

The bench discussed amongst itself and CJI said now that the appeal has been filed before
the High Court of Manipur, advocate Colin can appear before them.

Reacting to CJI’s point, no lawyer is appearing before the HC because the village is 1 km
away, it is highly dangerous.

CJI said to appear by virtual hearing, asked the chief justice to accommodate.

The State of Manipur informed the apex court that a writ appeal has been filed by the All
Manipur Tribal Union against the judgment of Justice MV Muralidharan of March 27.


“The writ appeal has been entertained by division bench of the High Court of Manipur and it
has been listed on June 6, 2023. An application was moved by state of Manipur before the
single judge for extension of time. The single judge has granted extension of time for

The Solicitor General stated that the state government has moved the single judge for extension
of time by one year till situation normalises.

Also Read: HC has no power to direct state government to recommend ST: Supreme Court

While, Colin Gonslaves submitted that the direction by single judge is contrary to position
established by law, said the CJI and added that since the appeal is pending before the HC,
then the SC bench provide liberty for submissions to be made before the division bench of
the HC.

In another petition, the Supreme Court directed the law enforcement agencies to take into
consideration other grievances highlighted in different interlocutory applications concerning
the ongoing unrest in Manipur.

The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, justice PS Narasimha and justice JB Pardiwala
was hearing the pleas.

Law enforcement agencies in the state were directed to take appropriate action on the
apprehensions raised by Manipur Tribal Forum which sought an SIT probe into Manipur
violence as well as providing of relief to victims.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the state has filed the
status report on the issue. It was submitted that the situation has improved a lot other than
some sporadic incidents.

He said the status report is filed by Manipur indicating steps taken to ensure law and order in
the state, details of relief camps, compensation made available in account of death, security
measures taken to protect religious places, transportation, registration of FIR.

“Let us wait for some time. Let peace and tranquillity be established,” he submitted.

Senior advocate Colin Gonslaves appearing for the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi submitted that
certain villages are prone to attacks.

The Indian Army must protect these persons, he submitted.


“18 people have been killed. The attacks continue day by day,” submitted the senior

The bench stated that certain apprehensions have been expressed on behalf of petitioners. They have sought appropriate directions so that steps can be taken up in sensitive areas. The apprehension be taken into account by authorities who are monitoring the situation. The copy be sent to the chief secretary of the state together with advisor, the bench stated.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar submitted that there is an interlocutory application by High Court Bar Association of Manipur. There are illegal immigrants coming from porous borders of Myanmar and they are creating these issues. They want to settle here. They are into big poppy cultivation and drugs. These is the larger issue which is happening. The militant camps are coming out of Myanmar.

The bench stated that the apprehension set out in other interlocutory applications that also be taken into account by law enforcement authorities as directed. Let the government of Manipur give a fresh report after the reopening of the SC.

Upon the multiple interlocutory applications being mentioned before the SC, the bench stated that there had been allegations from both the ends and it was not within the remit of the court to decide who was responsible as some matters are entrusted to the political realm.

The SC stated that its duty was to direct law enforcement to ensure peace and tranquility in
the state and the same had been done. However, it refused to enter into the arena of

“There are allegations from both sides. We can’t go ascertain the allegations by either side.
We have flagged those concerns and we have said that they are being filed by both sides
and we have directed the security officer to take in account and ensure peace and
tranquility” said the CJI.

Further, he added, "We can’t say who is responsible for this, law and order is a state
subject. We as the apex court can ensure they don’t turn a blind eye."

Advocate Nizam Pasha also submitted that the officers should be restrained from making
statements which are openly communal.

The CJI asked solicitor general to ensure that some restraint is exercised. The SG replied in an
affirmative to the same.

It may be mentioned that the SC had asked union to ensure that due arrangement is made
in relief camps in terms of food and medicines. And to ensure steps taken to
rehabilitation displaced persons and to protect places of worship.


First published:


manipur high courtsupreme courtmanipur violencest direction

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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