State legislature can pass laws to protect local population, says Justice Manisana

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IMPHAL, August 10: Justice Rajkumar Manisana Singh, the Emeritus Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court has stated that according to provisions of Article 19(5), the State legislature can pass laws to protect the interest of the indigenous people. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a panel discussion on the ‘Prospect of ILP system in Manipur’ organised by the Senior Citizens for Society (SCS), Manipur in the auditorium of the Babina Diagnostics at Soibam Leikai today. 

Various intellectuals, politicians, representatives of civil societies attended the panel discussion which deliberated on the pros and cons of implementing ILP for safeguarding the indigenous people of the State.

However, the State government does not have the power to pass laws for prescribing punishment to anyone entering the State even if it can enact a law to protect the interest of the indigenous people, he said, adding that provisions under Article 35 of Indian Constitution enables a State to enact laws to control the movements of migrants but State governments don’t have the authority to punish them.

Justice Manisana Singh stressed that the implementation of ILP is imperative considering the influx of many migrants to the State. 

Former minister and vice president of SCS, Leisom Lalit Singh elaborated that the public demand for implementing ILP in the State should not be misconstrued as an attempt to stop the entry of migrants or to drive out migrants from the State.

The demand is for providing a permit to non-locals by examining their documents and the purpose of entering the State, he said, adding that the demand is legitimate because controlling the influx of many unknown migrants is a must for the well being of the indigenous people in the long run.

Stressing that the demand for ILP is interwoven with law and order problems and various illegal activities in the state, he said it would be unconstitutional for the Centre to not allow the implementation of ILP.

Migrants from Bangladesh have come to dominate Jiribam, he said, adding that the representatives in Parliament from the State need to voice their opinions on the floor of Parliament and should urge the Central government to implement the ILP. 

Dr M Nara Singh said both the Central government and State government must listen to the voices of the people in a democratic country like ours. 

If both the governments remain as mute spectators, the meaning of democracy will be lost, he added. 

Stressing that indigenous people of the State must be protected, former minister RV Mingthing said the United Nations observed World Indigenous Day every year for protecting the indigenous people.

After the completion of the inaugural session, another discussion chaired by retired professor of Economics of Manipur University N Mohendro Singh was also held.

President of All Manipur Bar Association, advocate Khaidem Mani Singh, professor MC Arun of the Anthropology department, MU, advocate Thokchom Manihar Singh and retd District & Session Judge C Upendro Singh were unanimous in their opinions of either implementing ILP or to enact an act for the protection and preservation of indigenous people of the State.

In his speech, advocate Khaidem Mani Singh expressed that some people have misinterpreted the demand as an attempt to drive out migrants from the State and stop them from coming into the State. 

The failure to implement ILP poses a threat to the identity, culture, social justice and also to the local languages or dialects of the State, he added. 

Alleging that drug trafficking and child trafficking are mostly done by the non-locals or migrants, he said they also create chaos while maintaining law and order in the State. 

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