Amid growing demand for the introduction of Inner-Line Permit (ILP) in Northeast India, especially in Meghalaya, the Supreme Court has said a person cannot be denied his fundamental right to reside or move freely anywhere in the country.
Several social and youth groups in Meghalaya have been demanding the implementation of ILP to check free movement of people from other states.
The observation by a bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramanian came while setting aside an externment order against a journalist and social worker issued by the district authorities in Amravati city, Maharashtra.
“A person cannot be denied his fundamental right to reside anywhere in the country or to move freely throughout the country, on flimsy grounds,” the bench said.
It has been reported that the deputy commissioner of police, Zone-1, Amravati City, passed the externment order under Section 56(1)(a)(b) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, directing journalist Rahmat Khan not to enter or return to Amravati City or Amravati rural district for one year from the date on which he leaves or is taken out.
The bench said: “An externment order may sometimes be necessary for the maintenance of law and order.”
However, the drastic action of externment should only be taken in exceptional cases, to maintain law and order in a locality and/or prevent a breach of public tranquility and peace, the bench said.
The Supreme Court also observed: “Even otherwise, a threat to lodge complaint cannot possibly be a ground for passing an order of externment under Section 56 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, more so, when the responses of government authorities to queries raised by the appellant under the Right to Information Act clearly indicate that the complaints are not frivolous ones or without substance.”