HC rolls back wanted tag on Ratan

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E-Front-__-Ratans-case-at-high-CourtIMPHAL, Aug 23 : A Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur today passed an order directing that the words ‘wanted criminal’ used by the State police when it announced the wanted tag on former convenor of JCILPS Khomdram Ratan be deleted.
The Court also directed that the words, ‘the individual is absconding’ be deleted from the statement issued by the State police on June 2.
Along with the wanted tag, the State Government had also announced a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh to anyone who can provide information on the whereabouts of Ratan.
Today’s ruling came after the verdict was kept reserved on August 16.
The criminal petition was filed by Khomdram Ratan against the State of Manipur and four others including the Chief Secretary, DGP, SP Imphal West, PRO Imphal West police and OC Singjamei police station.
Justice N Kotiswar and Justice Kh Nobin of the High Court of Manipur passed the verdict today.
In its ruling the High Court noted that use of the word ‘Wanted’ should be normally qualified with the word ‘Information’ or such word to indicate the real purpose for which any press note/press release/publication is issued.
The Court order however noted that the contention that press note was issued by the police with malafide intention to discredit the people’s movement, based on fabricated photograph, is without basis as it has been later ascertained through Forensic Science Laboratory Test that the photograph of Ratan holding the   flag of the proscribed UNLF and taking oath of allegiance was genuine and not morphed.
“As regards the rest of the press note, the Court does not find any fault and reason to interfere with the same and accordingly, is upheld,” ruled the Court.
The Court ruled that the offending portions of the press note can be deleted without disturbing the character, meaning and scope of the press note issued by the police adding that the prime purpose of issuing it remains unaffected.
The counsel of Ratan earlier submitted before the Court that his client is a law abiding citizen of the land and an Advocate and a bonafide member of All Manipur Bar Association with no criminal antecedents.
The counsel further submitted that Ratan was voluntarily working as a Joint Convener of the JCILPS which has been spearheading the movement demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit System in the State.
On the photo which showed Ratan holding the flag of the proscribed UNLF and taking oath of allegiance, the counsel of the petitioner earlier said that the photo was morphed.
On the same day (that is June 2) the wanted tag was announced by the State Government, Ratan convened a press meet at the office of the JCILPS in which he clarified that the photo was a fabricated one to derail the ongoing movement of the JCILPS, submitted the counsel.
Hailing the judgement of the High Court of Manipur, BJP MLA Kh Joykishan said that this is ample proof that the State Government has been acting in a dictatorial manner and violating the Constitution. However the High Court has shown that such conduct cannot be tolerated in a democracy, said the MLA.
The stand of the High Court is ample proof that the truth can never be subverted.
On the cancellation of the exam conducted to recruit police constables, the MLA said that the State Government should immediately roll back its decision or else it will continue to be the laughing stock of everyone.
“I and the BJP will continue to oppose the dictatorial style of the Government,” declared the MLA.

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