Supreme Court Denies Urgent Listing for Manipur IDPs' Voting Rights Plea

Supreme Court refuses urgent listing for plea ensuring voting rights of 18,000 displaced in Manipur violence. Case: Naulak Khamsuanthang & Ors vs. Election Commission of India.

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, declined an urgent listing for a plea concerning the disenfranchisement of approximately 18,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Manipur in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

According to the petition, due to the violence in Manipur, many individuals were compelled to leave their homes and are currently residing in other states, facing difficulties in casting their votes.

The plea highlighted that the Election Commission of India (ECI) overlooked the situation of tens of thousands of Kuki-Zo-Hmar IDPs who risk losing their voting rights without any arrangements in place.

Advocates Hetvi Patel and Kaoliangpou Kamei, assisted by advocate Satya Mitra, filed the plea, asserting the denial of voting rights to IDPs. These individuals, scattered across various states like Mizoram, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, among others, are struggling to exercise their franchise.

The petition, titled Naulak Khamsuanthang and Ors Election Commission of India and ors, urges the Supreme Court to ensure voting rights for the displaced individuals.

The apex court has been handling a series of petitions related to the violence in Manipur. It previously formed an all-woman judicial committee led by Justice Mittal to scrutinize the ongoing investigation into the violence. In November 2023, the court directed the Manipur government to ensure the respectful burial of unidentified and unclaimed bodies.

Despite the plea's urgency, the bench, comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra, refused immediate consideration. The plea underscores the critical need for facilitating voting facilities for IDPs, stressing their constitutional right to participate in the electoral process.

While declining urgent listing, Chief Justice Chandrachud remarked, "The matter will be listed for hearing in due course."