India: Supreme Court dismisses PIL challenging law mandating Inner Line Permit
New Delhi, July 2 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a 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.
“We are not inclined to entertain this matter,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said.
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 bench was rising after finishing its business, the petitioner sought to withdraw his plea and make a representation before a competent ministry for the redress of his grievances, but the court refuse to allow it.
The advocate submitted that Nagaland has only eight per cent 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”.
“The way forward is to not impose it in new areas, instead gradually removing it by addressing the issues through other channels such as border patrolling, use of technology, strong land rights to prevent encroachment, financial devolution, increasing accountability.
“Due to ILP, no new technologies come in, not much development happens, cultural integration is lost and citizens feel like aliens in their own country. ILP offends fundamental right of a citizen to move freely across the nation, hampers development, frustrates investment, deters integration of people and creates trust deficit,” the petition said.
It also said that the Centre instead of encouraging the ILP system, should make sure that people of states like Nagaland are not deprived of economic opportunities due to migrants.
Upadhyay, in his plea, had sought a declaration that the provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, which give unbridled power to prescribe ILP for Indian citizens “was arbitrary and unreasonable”.