The Chairman of the Hill District Committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Dinganglong Jangmi, moved the High Court on Saturday, challenging the March 27 order of the Manipur High Court, and asking the state government to make a recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meetei/Meitei community.

The petition seeking Special Appeal Leave (SLP) claimed that there were “mistakes” in the High Commissioner’s order.

The primary error, reportedly, was in directing the State to make a recommendation to the Center for the inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community as a scheduled tribe in the presidential list, the second being the conclusion that the issue of inclusion of the Meeteis/Meiteis had been pending for nearly 10 years.

The petition indicated that the third error was in concluding that the Meeteis/Meiteis are tribes.

In his plea, Jangmi asserted that the Meetei/Meitei community is not a tribe and has not been recognized as such. He said they are “advanced”, though some may fall under Scheduled Caste (SC) or Other Backward Class (OBC) category. According to the petitioner, there is no recommendation from the state government for inclusion of the community in the ST List, and no recommendation for such inclusion is pending before the Center either.

Jangmi was of the opinion that the mere fact that Manipur received some representation by the Meeteis/Meiteis did not obligate the state to do anything unless it was satisfied that the Meeteis/Meiteis were tribes and that they deserved to be on the ST list. The petitioner asserted that “no one can compel the State to send such a recommendation without the State concluding that the Meeteis/Meiteis are a tribe and that they deserve to be on the Scheduled Tribe List.”

Jangmi argued that the mere fact that representation of the Meeteis/Meiteis may be pending with the state is of no consequence. The state is under no obligation to act unless it is satisfied that members of the Meetei/Meitei community are tribes and fulfills the constitutional requirements for inclusion on the ST list.

The petition said that the Supreme Court could not have given any direction to the state government even if it had considered the material and reached the conclusion that the Meetei/Meitei people were tribal and fulfilled the constitutional requirements for inclusion in the ST list.


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