The Supreme Court has dismissed the Manipur government’s special leave petition that challenged the order issued by the Manipur High Court on July 16, 2020.
A bench comprising justice DY Chandrachand, justice Vikram Nath and justice Hima Kohli verbally told the counsel for the state of Manipur that the direction given by the High Court was appropriate in view of the “dismal state of quarantine centres in the state of Manipur.”
It was pointed out that there are no proper facilities in the quarantine centres which were clearly indicated in the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) report submitted to the court, pursuant to the direction of the High Court, and therefore, the special leave petition was dismissed.
The special leave petition stated that the High Court had issued a slew of directions to the state of Manipur. The state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been tirelessly making all out efforts to control the situation and give the best relief and help to all its residents including migrant workers who were stranded in the state, it stated.
The state government constituted the state consultative committee on COVID-19 on April 23, 2020, it stated. It is a high level committee headed by the chief minister of the state and includes experts from the medical field apart from the officials of the state. The committee has been carrying out its function and dealing with the evolving situation in the state, and has had various meetings to assuage the situation in the state, it added.
It was stated that the direction contained in the order of the High Court directly intrudes into the functioning of the executive. It was further submitted that the separation of power, as mandated in the constitution ought to be respected and the High Court has erred by traversing beyond its domain.
The special leave petition challenges the High Court order in a public interest litigation filed by advocate J Hillson Angam last year through advocate Meihoubam Rakesh, praying for giving directions to the state of Manipur to set up adequate quarantine centres with proper facilities to accommodate the returnees in the all districts of Manipur.
Following the PIL, the High Court on July 16, 2020 directed the state government to constitute a committee, consisting of experts only within a week from the date of receipt of a copy of the order, which shall collect all the relevant data, and keep on submitting reports to the State Government from time to time so that the same can be placed before the High Level Consultative Committee headed by the chief minister, Manipur for consideration and to take appropriate decisions accordingly.
Meanwhile, in connection with SC order, dismissing the special leave petition, Human Rights Law Network (HRLM) stated that the state government, rather than taking positive steps to ensure that the directions given are strictly followed and implemented, felt aggrieved by the directions of the High Court which had passed an order that necessary steps are taken by the departments concerned to ensure that all steps and measures are placed in advanced for combating COVID-19 for the welfare of the people.
That the actions of the state of Manipur challenging the order passed for the welfare of the public bring to light the apathy of the government towards the needs of the people, HRLN alleged.