Friday, September 29, 2023

Lawyer representing SC panel on Manipur takes objection to state’s reply

A senior lawyer, representing the apex court-appointed panel to oversee relief and rehabilitation in violence-hit Manipur, Wednesday took objection to the state government’s claim that her statement on alleged lack of supply of food and medicine was without factual basis.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the chief secretary of Manipur said it was unfortunate that the platform of the top court was being “misutilised”, apparently referring to the lawyer’s claim.
“The claims made by the counsel for the committee and other applicants/petitioners during the course of hearing were without any factual basis,” the affidavit said. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the Justice Gita Mittal panel, said certain averments of the affidavit were a “direct attack” on her.

The senior lawyer told a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud that she will recuse herself from appearing for the committee.
“We have gone through this affidavit. It seems like a direct attack towards the counsel for the committee. I have not made any statements on my own…only on the instructions of the committee,” the lawyer said.
Another senior lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi, who appears for Meitei Christian Churches Council, also raised objection to an averment made by the state government against him.

The affidavit questions as to why the petitioner took up the case of destruction of churches only, he said, adding the State cannot take such a stand.
The idea was just to highlight the selective approach of the petitioner, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the state government, said.

On the reference made by the chief secretary in the affidavit to lawyers, including Arora, the bench said, “Any reference made to counsel in affidavit shall not be construed as any comment on the counsel. We make it clear that counsel appearing before the court do so as officers of the court and are responsible to this court.”



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