Imphal, Dec. 19: The Supreme Court has asked a petitioner, seeking implementation of a clause in the state’s merger agreement relating to Manipuris’ job prospects in various public services, to approach the high court.
A division bench of the apex court, comprising Justice B.S. Chouhan and Justice S.A. Bobbe, on Tuesday asked the petitioner, Th. Suresh Singh, former state health director, to go to Manipur High Court, while responding to his petition.
The petition, filed on September 10 this year, sought implementation of Article 8(3) of Manipur’s merger agreement, a clause relating to giving employment to Manipuris.
Singh filed the petition after the Union home ministry replied to his earlier RTI application, saying there was no information on steps taken by the Centre on implementation of this article, as sought by him.
Singh, who is also the chief functionary of the Imphal-based Centre for Foreign Studies and Placement, a non-profit organisation, filed the RTI application in May last year. He had wanted to know the steps taken by the Centre to implement the clause.
After Singh failed to receive any information, he approached the chief information commissioner of the Centre on September 10 last year. He received the reply from the home ministry in June this year.
Singh today said the Supreme Court heard the petition on Tuesday and directed him to approach the state’s high court and come back again with the “opinions” of the high court on the matter.
Article 8(3) of the agreement states: “The government of India also undertakes to make suitable provisions for the employment of Manipuris in various branches of the public services, and in every way encourage Manipuris to join them.”
Singh said he was yet to receive a certified copy of the Supreme Court’s directive and would approach the high court after receiving the certified copy.
The BJP has given financial and other logistic support to Singh, who is not a member of the party, in taking the matter to the apex court.
Pinky Anand was Singh’s counsel in the Supreme Court. “We will request Pinky to be with Singh when he approaches the state high court,” Sh. Shantikumar Sharma, a member of BJP national executive, said.
This is the second petition filed by Singh before the Supreme Court.
The first petition filed in the early part of last year sought a directive of the apex court to both the Centre and the state government to withdraw the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from Manipur.
The case is pending in the top court.