Final hearing on CM’s ST status case on Feb 3

NEW DELHI: The long-drawn case in the Supreme Court on the scheduled tribe status of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and his relatives will come up for final hearing in February next year.
The apex court comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Adarsh Goel, after briefly hearing the counsels for the petitioners, listed the pending writ petition for February 3.
Interestingly, the State of Meghalaya had filed an application for recalling the September 2 order passed by the Supreme Court in the Interlocutory Application in favour of the petitioner. However, the government’s plea was rejected following which the final hearing was fixed in February.
The apex court in September had reversed its earlier order and decided to hear the case pertaining to the scheduled tribe status of Sangma and others.
The court recalled its September 2015 order and restored the writ petition, filed by Tennydard M. Marak and the All Northeast Indigenous Garo Law Promoters’ Association, which the court will hear and decide on merit.
On September 18, 2015, the division bench comprising justices Madan B. Lokur and Uday U. Lalit had said, “We are not inclined to continue with these petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution. The petitions are dismissed but the parties may take up the issue with the High Court of Meghalaya and pending applications are also disposed of.”
However, this was challenged by the petitioners who filed a recall petition against the September 18 order and the matter was heard by the Supreme Court registrar, who in an order on November 2 last rejected the petition.
Later on November 16, Marak had filed a fresh appeal against the November 2 order of the Registrar, which resulted in the Supreme Court restoring his petition on September 2 this year.
Marak had stated that his writ petition was dismissed on September 18 by the apex court without hearing the petitioner in violation of the principles of natural justice.
Basava Prabhu P Patil, senior advocate assisted by advocate Manish Goswami and the respondent’s counsel led by Kapil Sibal, senior advocate, advocate general (Meghalaya) BP Todi, advocate Ranjan Mukherjee argued in the case.
The case has been pending for the last three years with several adjournments. Critics have pointed that earlier the National Commission for Minorities was given eight weeks to complete the probe on ST status, three years have lapsed without any inquiry.
They also questioned the State government’s move to support the cause of the Chief Minister by filing applications in the Supreme Court whereas a citizen of the State has to fight his case alone without assistance from any quarters. “Will Meghalaya government file petition for the cause of a common man,” they asked.
(With inputs from Shillong Bureau)

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