AAPSU, others welcome SC SLP

ITANAGAR, Mar 15: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), including lawyers and petitioners have welcomed the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Special Leave Petition (SLP) on Monday last, which has stayed the decree given on 19 March, 2013 by divisional bench of the Gauhati High Court over the issue of inclusion of Chakmas and Hajongs in the electoral roll filed by them on 6 March, 2015.
Addressing reporters here on Thursday, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai hailed the Supreme Court decision and stated, “Now that a special leave has been granted, we can start a fresh fight in a stronger way”.
Maintaining that it was too early to make any comment before the final decision of the apex court in the case, Dai asked the state government to back the AAPSU by bringing all resources, documents, papers related to the refugee issue, available with them, in the court .
Seeking full support from the government in protecting the tribal rights, Dai said that they have reached this far after a long struggle and that they could not take any more chances in a sensitive matter, which will determine the fate of the indigenous people and the state.
“The responsibility now not only rests on the shoulders of the government and AAPSU. It is time that citizens of the state rise and jump in to support the struggle with us,” Dai added.
Legal Advisor, Marto Kato said that it was a sigh of relief for everyone associated with the union’s fight against granting of citizenship to refugees in the state.
Informing that the SC order came after conducting 22 hearings over the case, Kato, however, opined that it would be better if the case be placed before a constitutional bench next rather than a divisional bench at the Supreme Court.
He said that if the case had been handled by a constitutional bench earlier, the outcome of the case would have been different today.
According to Kato, the divisional branch has delivered many wrong judgments while overlooking the core concern.
Further, he asked for immediate removal of names of Chakmas and Hajongs from the electoral roll till further orders by the SC.
Since the case has been stayed with the granting of SLP by the SC, Kato suggested that the state government act fast and remove all the names of Chakmas and Hajongs from the electoral roll.
Previously, the Gauhati High Court had dismissed a PIL by the union, while refusing to interfere with the additional guidelines of 23 May, 2015 and 3 October, 2007 issued by the Election Commission of India for inclusion of names of the Chakma and Hajong refugees in the electoral roll of the state.
Following dismissal of their PIL, the state’s apex student body in 2015 filed an SLP at the SC along with an application for condonation of delay of 823 days, challenging the legality and validity of the additional guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for special summary revision of electoral roll for inclusion of the refuges presently settled at Doimukh, Chowkham, Bordumsa-Diyun and Miao.