Supreme court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre and Manipur government on a plea challenging the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Manipur.

A Bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari sought response from the Centre and Manipur governments.

The top court posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.

Amra Bangali, a Kolkata-based organisation with a unit in Assam, filed a petition before the top court demanding revocation of the ILP in Manipur.

The plea has challenged the permit system contending that it provides unbridled power to the State to restrict entry and exit of non-indigenous persons or those who are not permanent residents of Manipur.

The permit system was introduced by way of the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019 which extends 140-year-old “colonial legislation” Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 (BEFR).

The plea said that the BEFR was enacted by the British to create a monopoly over the tea plantations in Assam (then part of Bengal) and to protect its commercial interests in the hilly areas from Indians.

It prohibits Indians from engaging in trade with the tribal populace in the areas contained in the preamble of the BEFR.

By virtue of the 2019 order, the ILP system has effectively been made applicable to the States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and districts of Nagaland which are notified from time to time.

The 2019 order violates fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution since it grants unqualified power to the State for restricting the entry and exit of non-indigenous persons, the petition stated.

“The draconian ILP system is fundamentally opposed to the policies of social integration, development and technological advancement in the area beyond the Inner Line, apart from hampering tourism within the state, which is a major source of revenue generation for these areas,” added the petition.

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