Monday, June 17, 2024

HC does not have power to seek changes in Scheduled Tribes list: CJI on Manipur plea

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Monday orally remarked that the Manipur High Court does not have the power to direct the state government to consider designating a community as Scheduled Tribe (ST), Live Law reported.

The directions by High Court to consider the Meitei community’s appeal for inclusion in the ST category is considered the trigger to the ethnic clashes in Manipur that left at least 65 people dead and thousands fleeing their homes.

On April 19, Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran of the High Court asked the Bharatiya Janata Party government to consider petitions of the state’s majority Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribe category and decide on it “expeditiously”.

A rally organised on May 3 to oppose the Meiteis’ demand by Tribal groups descended into violence.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud observed that there were several orders by the Supreme Court stating that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to direct changes in the Scheduled Tribes list.

The apex court was hearing two petitions, one by a ruling BJP MLA challenging the High Court order, and another by the Manipur Tribal Forum in Delhi for an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into the violence that rocked the state last week.

“It’s a presidential power,” the chief justice told Sanjay Hegde, who represented the petitioner before the Manipur High Court.

The court directed the Centre and the Manipur government to make arrangements in relief camps to provide displaced persons with basic amenities, food and medication.

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