New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday declined the urgent listing of a plea against the suspension of internet services in the violence-hit state of Manipur since May 3, saying High Court is seized of the matter.
"High Court is seized of the matter. Why are you duplicating it? Let it come before the regular bench, said a vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal."Advocate Shadan Farast appearing for two Manipuri residents, advocate Chongtham Victor Singh and businessman Mayengbam James, mentioned the matter for urgent listing of the plea saying the internet has been shut in the State for over 35 days now.
Counsel appearing for the Manipur government told the bench that High Court is already seized of some matters and there is no urgency to hear this case.
The plea was moved in the apex court saying their lives and livelihood have been severely affected by the statewide internet shutdown.
The plea said that the shutdown of the internet has had a significant economic, humanitarian, social, and psychological impact on both the petitioners and their families.
Petitioners have been unable to send their children to school, access funds from banks, receive payments from clients, distribute salaries, or communicate via email or WhatsApp, the plea said.
Chongtham Victor Singh has told ANI that there has been a complete blockade of internet access across the state for almost a month and it's causing significant harm to people's day-to-day life and their fundamental rights.
The ban on the internet was imposed on May 3 and remains in effect till now.
"Continued suspension of the internet for the purpose of preventing rumour-mongering and the spread of misinformation does not pass the threshold prescribed by the Telecom Suspension Rules 2017," the petition stated.
There is no stipulated public order on the internet ban and did not go through the oversight of the Review Committee which is necessary under Law, he said.
The plea said that the order of the internet ban is strangulating the Freedom of Speech and Expression and the Freedom to carry on trade and occupation. The plea also stated that there is a violation of Rule 2(2) of the Telecom Suspension rules and hence they are unconstitutional.
The petitioners sought a restoration of the internet in Manipur, except for those in which there continues to be unrest and violence.
The top court seized the cases relating to the violence in Manipur and sought status reports from the Centre and State on the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the people affected by the violence between Meitei and Kuki communities.
Earlier, the top court expressed concern over the loss of lives and properties in Manipur during the violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities and stressed taking adequate measures to restore normalcy there.
On March 27, the High Court directed the State to consider the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list.
The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3.
Violence has gripped the entire State for now a month and the Central government had to deploy paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control. (ANI)