The Manipur High Court has admitted a review petition seeking to modify its March 27 order that directed the state government to recommend inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list.
Based on the petition, the court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the state government, seeking their response.
The review petition by the Meitei Tribes Union (MTU) was admitted for hearing by a bench of Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan, who had also authored the March 27 order.
In the order, Justice Muralidharan had directed the Manipur government to reply to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry on a file related to the request for inclusion of the Meiteis on the ST list.
The high court noted that the Meiteis had submitted several requests for ST status to the Centre from 2013 onwards – a request that was forwarded to the state government for a formal recommendation.
But the state government never acted on it, the high court said before directing it to respond to the Union government.
In addition to this direction, the HC had also said, “The first respondent shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order “
“It is this part of the order that we have sought a modification of. There is a Supreme Court judgment that says inclusion or exclusion of any community is the prerogative of the Parliament and the President. So this direction does not comply with that,” MTU advocate Ajoy Pebam told PTI.
“We have simply asked them to revise the Single Bench order,” he said, adding, “We want the Manipur government to respond to the letter since it is not authorised to grant ST status.”
The high court has now listed this review petition for the next hearing on July 5.
More than 100 people have lost their lives in the violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur that broke out over a month ago.
Clashes first broke out in Manipur on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals – Nagas and Kukis – constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.