Meghalaya HC asks state govt not to regulate entry of Indian citizens
A division bench of Meghalaya High Court on Thursday observed that the government order regulating the entry or movement of Indian citizens into and within the state may be not exercised without indicating any parameters.
The division bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said that while hearing a PIL that challenged the validity of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016, and and the possible draconian manner in which it may be implemented on December 2.
“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 bench stated in the order.
It said that 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 bench stated.
In the PIL, the petitioners submitted that the gates have been set up at several points for checks to be conducted on persons seeking to enter the state.
They further stated that without any objective parameters being set down for denying entry or regulating the movement of any citizen of the country in Meghalaya, such check-posts may be impermissible and the exercise of authority thereat may be wholly arbitrary.
Meanwhile, the bench has ordered that the matter be stand over for some time since 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. The next hearing is scheduled to be held on February 2, next year.
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