HC bars Meghalaya govt from regulating entry, movement of Indian citizens

 

SHILLONG, Dec 2: The division bench of High Court of Meghalaya comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and judge T Diengdoh have observed that that the government order regulating the entry of Indian citizens may not be exercised.

“It is made clear that the apparent omnibus charter conferred by the impugned statute without indicating any parameters for restricting or regulating the entry or movement of Indian citizens into and within the State may be not exercised, “the Division bench of the High Court of Meghalaya said here on Thursday while hearing the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of entry-exit gates in the state.

As per the Court order, the challenge here is to the validity of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 and the possible draconian manner in which it may be implemented as appropriately apprehended by the petitioners.

The order stated that though the State referred to Article 19(5) of the Constitution, the grounds on which entry to or movement within the State may be regulated have not been spelt out in the impugned statute or in any rules framed thereunder.

“Indeed, it does not appear that the rule-making authority under Section 20 of the impugned legislation has been invoked at all,” the order said.

The petitioners submitted that gates have been set up at several points for checks to be conducted on persons seeking to enter the State. It was the further submission of the petitioners that without any objective parameters being set down for denying entry or regulating the movement of any citizen of the country in the State, such check-posts may be impermissible and the exercise of authority thereat may be wholly arbitrary.

Since Counsel representing the State sought time to obtain instructions as to whether any rules may be put in place under the statute to provide cogent and reasonable grounds, the Court allowed matter to stand over for some time.

It is made clear that the apparent omnibus charter conferred by the impugned statute without indicating any parameters for restricting or regulating the entry or movement of Indian citizens into and within the State may be not exercised. Let the matter appear immediately after the vacation.

The matter has been listed on February 2, 2022.

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