Manipur High Court deletes para of its March 2023 order on tribal status to Meiteis that triggered ethnic violence : The Tribune India

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Manipur High Court deletes para of its March 2023 order on tribal status to Meiteis that triggered ethnic violence

Underlines the legislative limitations on judicial interference concerning Scheduled Tribe classifications

Manipur High Court deletes para of its March 2023 order on tribal status to Meiteis that triggered ethnic violence

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22

Holding that its March 27, 2023, order asking the state government to consider including the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list was in conflict with the Supreme Court Constitution Bench rulings, the Manipur High Court has ordered deletion of the controversial paragraph that triggered an ethnic unrest claiming over 200 lives.

“I am satisfied and of the view that the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) of the Hon’ble Single Judge dated 27.03.2023 passed in W.P.© No. 229 of the 2023 which is impugned herein needs to be reviewed, as the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) of the Hon’ble Single Judge is against the observation made in the Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu said on Wednesday in his order on a petition seeking a review of the order.

The controversial paragraph said the state government “shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list, expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks” from the date of receipt of the order.

Justice Gaiphulshillu emphasised the necessity of removing the directive, pointing to the Government of India’s stipulated procedure for Scheduled Tribe list amendments.

Taking strong exception to the high court’s “obnoxious” March 27, 2023, order on ST status to the Meitei community, a Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud had on May 17, 2023, termed it “absolutely wrong”, saying the high court don’t follow Constitution Bench judgments. Later, it issued a series of directions on the issue.

Referring to the constitutional protocol detailed in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs’ 2013-14 report, the court highlighted the need for alignment with the Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretation, Justice Gaiphulshillu said,

The high court underlined the legislative limitations on judicial interference concerning Scheduled Tribe classifications, as outlined by a Constitution Bench ruling in November 2000.

“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” the verdict of Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench in November 2000 said.

The Constitution Bench had elucidated that courts should not overstep their jurisdiction in determining such categorisations.(With PTI Inputs)

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