Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

The victorious Manipur team which won the 26th National Women’s Football Championship

SC Reserves Judgement on Parliamentary Secretaries While also Dismissing Disqualification Case of 12 MLAs Dismissed After Manipur Governor’s Decision; Protest Against Oting Massacre Spreads; Demands for AFSPA Repeal Returns

The Supreme Court on December 9 has reserved judgement in the special leave petitions challenging the Manipur High Court’s order of striking down the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012 (“Act, 2012) and the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary And Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Repealing Act, 2018 (“Repealing Act, 2018”) as unconstitutional.

Manipur Governor La. Ganesan

The special leave petitions challenging the Manipur High Court Order were filed by the State of Manipur and Leishangthem Susindro Meitei (Yaima), MLA of Khurai Assembly Constituencies while Surjakumar Okram, MLA of Khangabok Assembly Constituency (AC) and D. D. Thaisii, MLA of Karong AC were the respondents.

The title of the Case of the judgement is reserved is State of Manipur and Anr. v. Surjakumar Okram And Ors.| SLP(C) No. 2001-2005/2021 And Leishangthem Susindro Meitei (Yaima) And Ors. V. Surjakumar Okram And Ors.| 2386-2390/2021.

The matter was heard by the bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna.

Live Law reports that Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan appearing for the petitioners submitted that the 2012 Act was also valid as it had never been declared invalid. He further contended that since it was in pari materia with Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, it was declared as invalid.

It was petitioner’s Senior Counsel’s contention that Bimolangshu Roy’s case was bad in law since the widest interpretation has to be given to all the Legislative entries.

Senior Counsel submitted that the State Legislature had jurisdiction to repeal an existing act which was enacted earlier by the State Legislature even if the earlier enactment was without jurisdiction.

It was also Senior Counsel’s contention that since the annulment of the statute did not remove it from the statute books, the State legislature had power to repeal it.

However, Senior Advocate Narender Hooda assisted by Advocate Shivendra Dwivedi and Advocate on Record Rajesh Mahale appearing for the Respondents Surjakumar Okram and D.D. Thaisii submitted that the Act, 2012 was declared unconstitutional on the ground that the State legislature lacked legislative capacity to enact such a law.

Respondent’s Counsel further contended that Bimolangshu Roy’s case was a good law.

Counsel during the course of hearing referred to content of the Repealing Act, 2018, “Whereas, it is expedient to repeal the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012 in light of the ruling of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Transfer Case (Civil) No. 169 of 2006 (Bimolangsu Roy (Dead) through LRs Vs. State of Assam & Another), and in the process of being a responsible Government which upholds the Rule of Law” and submitted that the same was an admission of the State Legislature’s part that it did not have the competence to legislate and thus repealed the same.

The Supreme Court Order on December 9, upon hearing the counsels on the matter of SLP(C) Nos. 2001-2005/2021 and 2386-2390/2021 the arguments are concluded and the Judgment is reserved.

On the other hand, Supreme Court dismissed the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 151/2021 filed by D.D. Thaisii, MLA of Karong AC seeking disqualification of 12 ruling MLAs of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Manipur Government in the office of profit issue.

Reports said the Supreme Court was informed on December 9 that the Manipur Governor has taken a decision on the opinion given by the Election Commission (EC) regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs in the ”office of profit” issue. The submission was made before a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was appearing for the Governor of Manipur.

The bench comprising of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna noted the submission and said, ”We are informed that order has been passed by the Manipur Governor. Therefore this has become infructuous.”

Accordingly, this writ petition stands dismissed as having become infructuous, said the Supreme Court Order on December 9.

It may be mentioned that Manipur Governor La. Ganesan on December 8 had dismissed a complaint filed by a Congress MLA seeking disqualification of 12 ruling legislators of the State in the office of profit issue, saying they have not incurred disqualification under constitutional provisions.

The Supreme Court had earlier said the Manipur Governor cannot ”sit over” the opinion given by the Election Commission (EC) regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP-led MLAs in the ”office of profit” issue.

After Manipur High Court on September 17, 2020 declared the laws under which the 12 MLAs were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries by the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren void and unconstitutional, the Manipur Congress had approached the then Governor Najma Heptulla, seeking disqualification of the 12 BJP-led MLAs on account of holding the posts of parliamentary secretaries.

After that, the Governor Najma Heptulla had sought the EC’s views on the matter in October last year. The Election Commission in a letter to the Governor on January 13 this year is reported to have opined that since the two laws were in force at the time the lawmakers held the posts of parliamentary secretaries, they could not be disqualified for holding an office of profit retrospectively.

SC Sets Aside Manipur Speaker’s Order
The three revived MLAs, Kshetrimayum Biren of Lamlai AC, Yengkhom Surchandra of Kakching AA, Sanasam Bira of Kumbi AC

The Supreme Court on December 8 set aside an order of disqualification passed by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly amidst the political drama in the height of Manipur’s lone Rajya Sabha Election in June 2020 disqualifying Kshetrimayum Biren of Lamlai Assembly Constituency (AC), Yengkhom Surchandra of Kakching AC and Sanasam Bira of Kumbi AC from the term of 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur for alleged defection to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The bench of justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi remanded the petition for disqualification to Speaker Yumnam Khemchand, who is required to decide it afresh. The bench also allowed the three MLAs to continue representing the electorate in the house of the Legislative Assembly till the disposal of the matter by the Speaker.

The SC further asked the Speaker to consider disposing of the matter as early as possible and in accordance with the law.

The three MLAs – Kshetrimayum Biren, Yengkhom Surchandra, and Sanasam Bira challenged the order passed by the Manipur High Court on June 2, 2021, upholding the June 18, 2020 decision of the Speaker to disqualify them.

The three MLAs had been elected to the Assembly in 2017 on Congress party tickets. However, it was alleged that they gave up their membership of the party and supported the ruling BJP for the purpose of strengthening the coalition government in the state.

The MLAs were disqualified on the ground that they along with another MLA of the Indian National Congress Paonam Brojen had given up their membership voluntarily and had given their support to the BJP for the purpose of strengthening the coalition government led by the BJP.

Earlier the Supreme Court had issued notice in the Special Leave Petition challenging the Manipur High Court’s order of upholding the speaker’s decision of disqualifying them from the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.

On the issue of the disqualification petitions being preponed from June 22, 2020, to June 18, 2020, the bench observed that the matter did not give any reason for emergency, no parties were represented before the Speaker, and that the matter required leading evidence.

The High Court of Manipur in its judgement held that the Speaker had passed the disqualification order after taking into consideration all the pleadings, newspaper reports, and photographs and DVDs filed in connection with the disqualification cases. The MLAs had not disputed the authenticity of such reports, the High Court further noted.

It, therefore, ruled that the orders of the Speaker were in accordance with the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India and did not call for any interference. The MLAs thus approached the Supreme Court in an appeal against this order.

“With the assistance of the learning parties, it is quite clear that the petitions were directed to be taken up for 22/06/2020 but were preponed to 18/06/2020. Without going into the question as to whether the preponement was in parties knowledge, the matter does not give any reason for emergency and no parties were represented before the Speaker and that the matter required leading of evidence,” the bench observed in its order.

PIL Against Political Party Flags, Billboards in Public Places

Concerning the distractions and disturbances caused to the public by the large scale illegal erection of political party flag poles and billboards of intending candidates of the upcoming election, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the High Court of Manipur.

The matter was listed before the division bench of the Manipur High Court comprising Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran on December 10.

The PIL was filed by Rinku Khumukcham, editor of Imphal Times, alleging that flag poles and billboards were erected without taking prior permission from the Imphal Municipal Corporation. Moreover, the erection of flag poles and billboards is also a violation of the order of banning the advertisement from highways by the Ministry of Road Transport, said the petition.

The respondents of the PIL are the state government through the chief secretary, the chief engineer of PWD, the executive officer of IMC and the ministry of Roads Transport and Highways.

The petitioner further alleged that such erection of flag poles and billboards not only obstruct the smooth running of vehicles but also to the vision of the drivers while driving.

In December 10 hearing, the representative of IMC had accepted that the political parties or intending candidate did not take any prior permission for the uses of the government land in the jurisdiction of the IMC, said counsel of the petitioner Rakesh Meihoubam.

Following which the division bench has directed the IMC to make sure that laws and regulations of the government be followed by each and everyone irrespective of their position. The next hearing of the PIL is scheduled on January 28, 2022.

AFSPA Ineffective: Conrad Sangma
Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma in Imphal declares AFSPA ineffective

The Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), 1958 has been never been able to resolve problem of insurgency in the Northeastern Region, Meghalaya Chief Minister and National President of National people’s Party (NPP) Conrad K Sangma said on December 10.

“The AFSPA) has never been able to resolve problem of insurgency in the north eastern region. Insurgency is a socio-economic problem but not a military problem. Only socio-economic process can resolve the problem and using forces will only make it worst,” Sangma said.

CM Conrad Sangma said this while addressing a ‘Youth Conclave’ organised by National People’s Youth Front (NPYF) at Patsoi, Imphal West.

“Youths who are strayed in the wrong way are still Indians and someone’s brother and sister. However, by using Armed Forces we are making them enemies”, Sangma said.

Reports said the Meghalaya Chief Minister assured that as a leader of the NPP, he will continue to press the central government to completely repeal AFSPA from the entire Northeastern states.

AMSU and COCOMI demand AFSPA repeal

Condemning the Oting Massacre in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4  killing of  14 innocent civilians by Indian security forces at Mon district in Nagaland on December, All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) took out a rally in Imphal as part of the Northeast wide protest under the aegis of North East Students Organization (NESO) on December 9.

AMSU the constituent member of NESO staged Sit-in-Protest and took out a rally on December 9 condemning the massacre and demanding repeal of AFSPA holding banner and placards “Repeal AFSPA ”, “Stop killing innocent civilians” and “We stand against AFSPA 1958” in Imphal starting from the head office of AMSU at DM University campus and passing through Khuyathong and JN Manipur Dance Academy and back to the head office of AMSU.

NESO a conglomeration of the student bodies of the Northeast comprises of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU), Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF).

Another team of AMSU also submitted a memorandum to Major General Alok Naresh, IGAR South, demanding the repeal of AFSPA from Northeast.

AMSU also held a candle light vigil in association with Manipur University Students Union (MUSU) at Manipur University gate against the killing of innocent civilians in Nagaland.

In the chorus for repeal of AFSPA, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) also staged a sit-in protest at Keishampat in Imphal on December 9 condemning the Oting Massacre and demanding repeal of AFSPA. The placards at the protest read ‘COCOMI condemns Oting massacre’, ‘Stop killing innocent people’, ‘Repeal AFSPA 1958’, ‘Respect North East people’, ‘Stop dehumanization of NE people’. A minute’s silence was also observed by the protesting members for the eternal peace of the civilians killed by Indian security forces.

Drugs Worth Over Rs 500 Crore Seized

One Myanmar national has been arrested along with a huge amount of drugs worth over Rs 500 crore by a combined team of 43-Assam Rifles, Tengnoupal District Police, and CDO Moreh at Shiva Gate near Tamil Sangam Temple along Indo-Myanmar Border under Moreh Police Station, Tengnoupal district in Manipur.

Reports said, the accused, identified as Monkhai, (19) S/o (L) Thang En Mang of Khampat (Myanmar), was arrested at 2:30 pm on December 6.

The team recovered as many as 1,3936 soap cases of suspected heroin powder weighing 54.141 Kgs (approximately) worth Rs 108 crore and 152 packets of suspected Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) weighing 154.314 Kgs (approximately) worth around Rs 400 crore in the international market, reports added.

According to a press release issued by Th Vikramjit, Superintendent of Police, Tengnoupal, security forces and District Police Tengnoupal are dominating the Indo-Myanmar border extensively to thwart the nefarious designs of Anti national Elements and as a part of a war against drug, Tengnoupal District Police has been working in close coordination with 43 Assam Rifles, to make Moreh, a narcotic substance- free town.

Teams from both 43 Assam Rifles under the strict supervision of Colonel Sumit Sood Commandant 43 Assam Rifles Moreh Battalion and Tengnoupal District Police under Th Vikramjit Singh, SP Tengnoupal were deployed for collection of more specific information, it stated.

The team stopped the suspected individual and upon inspecting the contents of his bag, approximately 20 large boxes inside the red coloured bag, each having 11 soap cases of suspected narcotics (Heroin Powder) was found.

The accused, identified as Monkhai, (19) S/o (L) Thang En Mang of Khampat (Myanmar), was arrested at 2:30 pm from the spot and 220 soap cases of heroin powder and one Kenbo bike were seized from his possession.

The combined team further searched the targeted house. During the house search, as many as 3,716 soap cases containing suspected heroin powder and 152 packets of suspected Crystal Meth (Methamphetamine) drugs were recovered which were concealed inside the front room of the said house. The team also recovered plastic packaging materials, the release said.

Owner of Drugs Seized in Moreh Identified

The wife of a Chinese national reportedly residing in Myanmar has been identified as the alleged owner of a huge consignment of drugs that was seized recently in Moreh by a combined team of 43 Assam Rifles, Tengnoupal District Police, and CDO Moreh.

Inspector General of Police Konsam Jayanta on December 9 disclosed to the media that the alleged owner of the huge consignment of drugs had been identified and necessary steps were taken for his arrest. He told the media during a press conference held at the conference hall of superintendent of police, Imphal West located at Babupara, Imphal.

He said the alleged owner has been identified as one Kimneilhing Kipgen, 43, daughter of Ngulkholam Kipgen of Moreh Ward No III, Phaicham Veng. She is the wife of one Chinese national reportedly residing in Myanmar. Investigation is continuing in the right direction and no political power can affect the investigation.

Jayanta said investigations in all these cases are in full swing and more arrests of involved persons will be made soon irrespective of whether they are government servants, political workers, businessmen and others, reports added.

NSU Manipur, Russian Olympic University sign MoU

National Sports University (NSU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian International Olympic University, Sochi during the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit 2021.

Reports quoting a release of NSU on December 7 said that president of the Russian Federation HE Vladimir Putin, paid a working visit to New Delhi on December 6 for the 21st India-Russia Annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During the visit, the National Sports University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Russian International Olympic University, Sochi.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen and develop co-operation in the fields of sports education between the parties by jointly promoting academics and research of mutual interest. Under the MoU, both parties will develop mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of academic exchange of students, providing short term courses, seminars, and conferences, take part in special educational projects and open lectures, it added.

Both the parties will assist each other in designing courses and curriculum in their respective area of expertise, exchange of specialists, faculty and research personnel to exchange information, consultations and experience and organising joint conferences, seminars and academic meetings.

Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) was established in 2009 and is the world’s first university dedicated to sport business education, offering unique programmes infused with Olympic values and experiences, reports added.

Manipur Wins 26th National Women’s Football Championship

Manipur wins the 26th Hero National Women’s Football Championship 2021 beating Railways by 2-1 at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala on December 9.

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on December 10 announced that the state government will reward a sum of Rs 5 lakh each to the players and coaches of Manipur’s women football team for lifting the 26th Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2021-22 for the 21st time.

Manipur made it 21 out of 26 at the National senior football championship. It defeated Railways in a final that failed to produce a goal in 120 minutes.

CM Biren tweeted, “Congratulations Manipur Women’s Football Team on winning the “Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship” after penalty shootout against Railways. In recognition of their excellent performance, each and every team member & their coaches will be rewarded Rs 5 Lakh each.”

Reports said, in the final match of the 26th Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2021 played in Kerala on December 9, Manipur outplayed Railways by 2-1 goals during penalty shootout after the normal time ended with a goalless draw.

Babysana (Manipur) and Naobi Laishram (Railways) scored with their kicks to make it 1-1. Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini then saved from Railways’ Sasmita Swain and Moirangthem Mandakini. Though Manipur’s Asem Roja missed her spot-kick, Yangoijam Kiranbala Chanu scored hers to give Manipur a 2-1 lead; reports said.

Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini was awarded the Best Goalkeeper title while Irom Prameshwori as the Most Valuable Player of the match.

It may be mentioned that the chief minister had also extended Rs 3 lakh to the Manipur senior women team for their onward travels ticketing to Kerala.

Meanwhile, the All Manipur Football Association (AMFA) expressed their deepest regard to the chief minister for his encouraging gesture towards the development of football in the state, reports added.

NESO Observes ‘Black Day’ on December 11 Against CAA

North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), the umbrella body of the student organisations in the North East, observes December 11 as a ’black day’ in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.

NESO chairman Samuel Bhattacharya and Secretary General Sinam Prakash in a release said that despite relentless protests and opposition against the Bill by the indigenous people of the North East, the Centre went ahead to make it an Act.

NESO has declared that December 11 will be remembered as a Black Day for the entire Northeast and it has been observed with display of black flags and black banners in all the important places of all the seven states of the Northeast by the NESO members, the release added.

In Manipur too, AMSU observes at its headquarter located on the campus of DM University.

NESO comprises of eight students’ bodies of the North-East, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU), Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF).

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