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HC asks govt not to regulate entry of Indian citizens

Ban on entry-exit point

Shillong, Dec 2: The division bench of High Court of Meghalaya comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and judge W Diengdoh made clear on Thursday 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 order said.

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The matter will be taken up immediately after the vacation on February 2 next year.

The court was hearing a PIL moved by Ibahunlang Nongkynrih & others represented by Advocate N Syngkon.

The court observed that the challenge was 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.

“Though the state refers 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 court 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.

The petitioners further submitted 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 the counsel representing the state seeks time to obtain instructions as to whether any rules may be put in place under the statute to provide cogent and reasonable grounds, let the matter stand over for some time”, the court added.

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