Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Supreme Court declines urgent listing of plea against internet ban in Manipur to avoid duplicate proceeding

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The Supreme Court has refused the list the petition challenging the internet shutdown currently in force in the State of Manipur to be taken up on urgent basis.

A vacation bench comprising  of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal stated that the matter was already been heard by the  Manipur High court and there seems no need for a duplicate proceeding.

The counsel for the petitioner Shadan Farasat has been instructed by the Court to mention the matter before a regular bench of the Manipur High Court. 

An indefinite internet ban has been imposed in Manipur since May 3 after violence broke out in the State.

The internet ban was imposed after the Manipur High Court had asked government to “consider inclusion of the Meetei/ Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list.

This led to widespread clashes between tribal and non-tribal communities leading to loss of lives. 

The order for the latest  internet suspension was issued by the State government on May 26.

The petitioners before the apex court lawyer Chongtham Victor Singh and businessman Mayengbam James,said that despite ‘a clear and admitted de-escalation’ of the situation’,the Manipur government has not taken up the State-wide internet shutdown orders .

The petitioner stayed that blocking orders cite law and order and anti-social elements rather than public order, and the latest extensions did not go through the oversight of Review Committee as necessary in law.

Further, it was submitted that the orders are grossly disproportionate as they prevent residents from exercising their fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom to carry on trade and occupation.

The internet ban does not serve a legitimate goal, and does not have a direct nexus with the purpose of law and order given the ground situation at present, the plea further said.

The notifications on internet ban have not been published on any website or social media and therefore, residents have not been able to make alternative arrangements or challenge such ban, it was submitted.

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