Manipur Violence: SC pulls up Manipur High Court for judgment to include Meitei community in ST list

Debayan Roy

The Supreme Court Wednesday came down upon the Manipur High Court for its recent judgment which had called for inclusion of the Meetei/ Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list.

The judgment had triggered violent clashes between tribal and non-tribal communities.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said that the judgment was “factually incorrect” and also against the principles laid down by the Supreme Court Constitution bench judgments as regards classification of communities as Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

“We have to stay the order of the Manipur High Court. It is completely factually wrong and we gave time to Justice Muralidharan to remedy his error and he did not. We have to take a strong view against it now. It is clear if High Court judges do not follow constitution bench judgments then what should we do.. it is very clear,” the CJI remarked.

The Court nevertheless did not impose any stay but noted that since an appeal has been filed before the division bench of the High Court against the judgment of the single-judge, aggrieved parties can present their case before the division bench. The Court was hearing a slew of petitions seeking directions to the Central and State governments to ensure the safety of Manipuri Tribals after the High Court judgment led to violent clashes in the State.

In March this year, Justice MV Muralidharan of the Manipur High Court had ordered the Manipur government to “consider inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period four weeks” from the date of the order.

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