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Judiciary

SC declines to entertain plea for voting rights to 18,000 displaced Manipur residents

By Jhanak Singh      15 April, 2024 08:05 PM      0 Comments
SC declines to entertain plea for voting rights to 18000 displaced Manipur residents

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea for a direction to the Election Commission to allow around 18,000 persons, displaced due to the ethnic violence in Manipur, to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra rejected the plea filed by Naulak Khamsuanthang.

After hearing the petitioner's counsel, the bench said, "We have come to the conclusion that interference of this court, particularly at this belated stage, would cause substantial impediments in the conduct of the ensuing general elections of the Lok Sabha for Manipur".

The polling for two Lok Sabha seats of Manipur will be held in two phases on April 19 and 26.

The plea claimed that the brutal violence in the State sadly forced more than 15,000 people out of their homes and are currently residing out of duress in other states.

"You have come at the last minute. At this stage, what can be virtually done," the bench told the counsel for the petitioner.

The plea contended no proper arrangement has been made to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) cast their votes in the upcoming elections.

"Democracy is an essential feature of Constitution, yet no recognition of fundamental right to them. The ECI has turned a blind eye towards the state of tens of thousands of Kuki-Zo-Hmar IDPs who are going to be disenfranchised without any arrangements for the exercise of their voting rights," the plea said.

The petitioners’ counsel referred to a special scheme, which was devised under the Jammu and Kashmir People Representation Act, which enabled migrant voters to vote by postal ballot for the constituencies in the places they were registered as voters.

However, the bench said, “These arrangements were made in a factually different situation”.

The State of Manipur suffered ethnic violence since May 2023, which left 160 people dead and several hundred injured.



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