Supreme Court

New Delhi, July 3, 2019:

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday dismissed the highly controversial PIL challenging a law that empowers states like Nagaland to make it mandatory to have an Inner Line Permit for the entry of people from outside the state.

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A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said: “We are not inclined to entertain this matter,”.

The petition was filed by advocate and BJP member Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay contending that such law giving unbridled power to states to restrict the movement of citizens within the state was “arbitrary, unreasonable and offends Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution”.

When the bench was rising after finishing its business, the petitioner sought to withdraw his plea and make a representation before a competent ministry for the redressal of his grievances, but the court refused to allow it.

The advocate submitted that Nagaland has 8% Hindu population and the rule requiring an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter the state was against the mandate of the Constitution.

He said even journalists are required to take the ILP. However, the submission also did not impress the bench to allow him to withdraw the petition.

“You are now seeking the support of the journalists,” the bench quipped.

Upadhyay in his plea contended that imposing a “quasi-visa system”, like the ILP, by the state for Indian citizens “has divisive implications, internationally shows the country in bad light and restricts integration of cultures, public discourse and awareness”.

Upadhyay, in his plea, had sought a declaration that the provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, which gave unbridled power to prescribe ILP for Indian citizens “was arbitrary and unreasonable”.

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