SOLEMWON Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
STATE OF MANIPUR
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RAMALINGAM SUDHAKAR,CJ. -
(1.) Heard Mr. M.Ibohal, learned counsel for the petitioners as well as Mr.N.Kumarjit, learned Advocate General, Manipur for the State respondents.
(2.) This Public Interest Litigation has been filed by the petitioner's Counsel represented by its duly authorised person stating that the petitioners are representing the residents of Ukhrul district. The grievance of the petitioners is that by the impugned proceeding of the District Magistrate, Ukhrul District dated 14.3.2019 and rights of the citizens, more particularly, the residents of Ukhrul District is being curtailed. There is a clear breach of Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The impugned proceeding, Annexure-A/3 dated 14.3.2019 is as follows:
"Government of Manipur Office of the District Magistrate , Ukhrul Under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Ukhrul, the 14th March,2019 No. 12/11/Elec/L.S-2019/DC/UKL: Whereas the Election Commission of India has announced the schedule for Conduct of 17th Lok Sabha Election, 2019 and report has been received that certain anti-social elements are likely to indulge in unlawful activities. Whereas, such activities may cause serious breach of peace and disturbance of the public tranquility and thereby, endanger human lives and properties in the areas described by the scheduled below and Whereas, such disturbance of the public tranquility, breach of peace and endangerment of human life and property are sought to be prevent and Whereas, it is considered that restriction on (i) assembly of 5 or more persons which is likely to turn unlawful and (ii) prohibition on carrying of firearms, sticks, stones, weapon or object is (iii) the carrying of licensed arms and ammu-nitions of any description which can be used as offensive weapons would be effective in preventing such disturbance as described above and Whereas, I consider this as a fit case for issuing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. 1973 in keeping with the above objectives. Now, therefore, I, Dr. Harmit Singh Pahuja, District Magistrate, Ukhrul District, Manipur, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section 2 of Section 144 of Cr. P. C. 1973, do hereby prohibit, with immediate effect from 1700 hours on 14.03.2019, till the completion of Lok Sabha Election,2019, the following activities in the area described by the schedule below.
(i) The assembly of 5 or more persons which is likely to turn unlawful.
(ii) The carrying of firearms, sticks, stones, weapons or object of any description which can be used as offensive weapons and
(iii) The carrying of licensed arms and ammunitions. As there is emergency and the circums-tances do not permit the serving of a due notice upon whom this order is directed this order is passed ex-parte. This order shall not apply to the government agencies or functionaries involved in the enforcement of law and order. Copy of this order shall be pasted on the notice boards of the District Magistrate. Ukhrul District, the Superintendent of Police, Ukhrul District, Manipur. Wide publicity thereof in the scheduled area shall also be caused by the Officer-in- Charge of the police station having jurisdiction over the said area. Schedule The whole are under the revenue jurisdiction of Ukhrul District. Given under my hand and seal of this court on this day the 14th of March,2019.
Sd/- Dr. Harmit Singh Pahuja District Magistrate, Ukhrul District''
(3.) Learned counsel for the petitioners pleads that the District Magistrate under the guise of a prohibitory order has curtailed the freedom of movement, rights of the individual and citizens. The impugned order is bad because there are no sufficient grounds to proceed to pass the order under Section 144 Cr.P.C. The opinion of the District Magistrate appears to be subjective.;
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