Traffic police personnel checking vehicles Credit: EastMojo Image

Shillong: The High Court of Meghalaya comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and judge W Diengdoh have observed that the government order restricting or regulating the entry or movement of Indian citizens into and within the state may be not exercised.

The PIL was heard on Thursday, wherein the petitioner had challenged validity of the gates set up at several points for checks to be conducted on persons seeking to enter the state of Meghalaya.

The division bench of the High Court of Meghalaya stated, “It is made clear that the apparent omnibus charter conferred by the impugned statute without indicating any parameters for restricting or regulating the entry or movement of Indian citizens into and within the state may be not exercised.”

The order mentioned that the challenge here is to the validity of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, (MRSSA) 2016, and the possible draconian manner in which it may be implemented, as appropriately apprehended by the petitioners.

“Though the state refers to Article 19(5) of the Constitution, the grounds on which entry to or movement within the State may be regulated have not been spelt out in the impugned statute or in any rules framed thereunder. Indeed, it does not appear that the rule-making authority under Section 20 of the impugned legislation has been invoked at all.”

“Since Counsel representing the State seeks time to obtain instructions as to whether any rules may be put in place under the statute to provide cogent and reasonable grounds, let the matter stand over for sometime,” read the order.

The petitioners had submitted that without any objective parameters being set down for denying entry or regulating the movement of any citizen of the country in the state, such check-posts may be impermissible and the exercise of authority thereat may be wholly arbitrary.

The matter has been listed on February 2, 2022.

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