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Manipur HC revokes directive to consider ST status for Meiteis

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GUWAHATI: Manipur high court has removed a contentious paragraph from its 2023

directive

to the state govt to consider giving

scheduled tribe

(ST) status to the Meitei community, which some blame for the ethnic violence that has ravaged the state for nine months.
Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu modified former acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan’s directive of March 27, 2023, while hearing a review petition filed by Meitei Tribes Union, whose earlier plea was the genesis of the order. The union had originally petitioned HC to ask Manipur’s BJP-led govt to recommend to the Union tribal affairs ministry that

Meiteis

be put on the ST list.
Justice Gaiphulshillu cited a 2001 observation by a Supreme Court Constitution bench in the State of Maharashtra vs Milind & Ors case that courts cannot modify, amend or alter the ST list.
HC retains order for suggestion on ST tag for Meiteis

The part of ex-acting CJ Muralidharan’s order that has been deleted was a directive to state govt to “consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei community in the ST list expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order”.
The judge left untouched the portion of the order asking the state to “submit the recommendation” regarding

ST status

to Meitei community in response to a May 29, 2013 letter from tribal affairs ministry.
A Supreme Court bench last year took exception to the controversial portion of the former acting CJ’s order. The Meitei group filed its review petition after that.
Manipur PCC president and MLA K Meghachandra said the ruling on the review petition doesn’t mean the move for ST status to Meitei community has been revoked altogether. “So far as the recommendation is concerned, it is still operative in the writ petition. So, govt should act as per court’s directive,” he said.

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