Kohima: The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged the special provisions provided by the Central government to states like Nagaland in implementing inner line permit (ILP) that regulates the entry of people into the state.
As per reports, a bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose ruled out the PIL filed by a non-Naga advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, saying that the matter cannot be entertained in the apex court.
The PIL filed by Upadhyay, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, challenged the law restricting the movement of citizens within the state as “arbitrary, unreasonable and offends Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution”.
The non-Naga BJP leader in his petition further stated that imposing a “quasi-visa system” in the form of ILP in state is “divisive” and offends fundamental right of a citizen to move freely across the nation. The petitioner further expressed that people are alienated inside their own nation as there is no exchange of technology, proper development and less cultural integration because of a structure like ILP in state.
“It hampers development, frustrates investment, deters integration of people and creates trust deficit,” the petition added.
Upadhyay, in his plea, further sought a declaration from the apex court stating that the provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, which gave unbridled power to prescribe ILP for Indian citizens “was arbitrary and unreasonable”.
Condemning the plea filed at the top court, apex student body of Nagaland, Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), in a statement said that irresponsible action by people like Upadhyay has been the cause of unrest and uncertainty in the minds of the Naga people for long.
A communiqué by state BJP said that president Temjen Imna Along “personally took the crux of the matter upon himself, and had even talked to Ashwini to withdraw the case immediately”.
Further, it said that Along “has gone all out of his way to see that the PIL filed in the Supreme Court… is dismissed off at all cost, for the safety and welfare of the Naga People, and the victory that we have witnessed today is an attribution of his deep concern for the Nagas”.
Meanwhile, acknowledging the apex court’s move, the students’ body acknowledged the visionary wisdom displayed by the judges in protecting rights of the indigenous people by uplifting their cause and dismissing the PIL.
“Dismissal of the PIL is a reaffirmation that despite of attempts to create disharmony in the Naga society by external forces through dishonest means, wishes of the common people shall always prevail,” the NSF said.
Earlier on Sunday, Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton called on Nagaland Advocate General KN Balgopal to discuss the issue. Balgopal was also present at the time of the court hearing on Tuesday.