Curfew Pass: HC resolves issue raised by AMBA PIL, says chief secretary’s memo is self-explanatory

The Manipur High Court on June 4 passed an interim order that lawyers can attend court and court related works between 2 pm to 5 pm without carrying curfew pass.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Kh Nobin on June 8 resolved a matter raised by a PIL filed by All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA) in connection with issuing of curfew pass to advocates. The High Court said that there is no need to extend the interim order passed by the same court on June 4 as the office memorandum dated June 6 issued by the Chief Secretary was “self-explanatory” and “PIL stands closed”.

On June 4, the High Court passed an interim order that lawyers can attend court and court related works between 2 pm to 5 pm without carrying curfew pass. However, they should be in advocate’s uniform and hold valid identity cards issued by Bar Council of Manipur or bar association, as the High Court of Manipur noticed.

Advocates who are attending remand proceedings may go to the concerned court or judge’s residence provided they are in advocate’s uniform and on production of valid identity card issued by Bar Council of Manipur or bar association, said the high court order.

The court while considering the nature of PIL and submission from the advocates, said that it appears to be a misconception because in the High Court notification, it has been clearly stated that High Court and District Courts timing will be up to 1 pm only. There is no curfew till 2 pm.

The curfew in Imphal city and district headquarters is between 2:00 pm and 5:00 am the next day. The High Court notification on June 3 was issued with the intention to enable the High Court and District Courts advocates to move to their private office/chamber between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm of the same day using the curfew pass so as to facilitate access to justice. There is no cause list after 2:00 pm.  

The office memorandum of the CS indicating that practicing advocates can move without curfew pass during curfew hours (i.e.) 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm of the same day subject to production of identity card and cause list will cause confusion. Therefore, the word “cause list” needs to be deleted as irrelevant after 2:00 pm, said the high court order.

First Published:June 12, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

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