Taking serious note of multiple checking points along Imphal-Moreh road HC orders to identify PACS site within 10 days

Taking serious note of multiple checking points along Imphal-Moreh road HC orders to identify PACS site within 10 days

IMPHAL, Feb 11: Taking serious note of the multiple checking of vehicles along Imphal-Moreh highway by Assam Rifles, State forces and Customs officials at different points which often turn out to be quite time consuming and irritating, the High Court of Manipur has directed the Central Government and the State Government to identify a suitable site for installation of Population Access Control System (PACS) which can scan goods loaded vehicles within 10 days.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising of the then Acting Chief Justice N Kotiswar and Justice Kh Nobin issued an order to this effect on February 7 after hearing a PIL filed by one Thokchom Kumarjit.
The PIL pointed out that the border town of Moreh is often projected as gateway of India vis-a-vis India’s Act East Policy. The highway is a key highway for a large number of traders/businessmen and general public.
Assam Rifles, State forces and Customs officials have been checking all the vehicles and goods consignments brought from Moreh to see that contraband objects and illegal items are not transported. Moreover, no vehicles coming from the direction of Moreh are allowed to cross AR check-posts between 6 pm and 6 am.
Apart from challenging the right to free movement guaranteed to each and every citizen by the Constitution of India, the multiple checkings have been causing severe inconveniences to traders as well as the general public.
Goods brought from the direction of Moreh are unloaded at the AR check-posts of Khudengthabi and Tengnoupal and checked one by one.
There are also AR check-posts at Pallel and near Kondong Lairembi complex.
Vehicles and goods they brought are also checked by State forces and Customs officials at Pallel, Thamnapokpi, Saivom, Tengnoupal, Khudengthabi, Kondong Lairembi and Moreh Forest IB.
Pointing out that such multiple checkings by multiple agencies have been causing severe inconveniences to traders and the general public, the PIL prayed for the High Court’s intervention so as to devise a mechanism which can reduce the multiple checkings to the minimal level.
The order issued by the High Court on February 7 directed the authorities concerned to identify a site (200 m X 45 m) for installation of PACS and necessary equipment/accessories so that goods loaded in vehicles can be checked without unloading them.
The order asked the Chief Secretary to hold a meeting with officials concerned and identify the site within 10 days without undue delay.
The Court listed the matter for next hearing on February 23.
On the other hand, Chief Secretary RR Rashmi convened a meeting about installation of PACS at a suitable site along Imphal-Moreh highway on January 5.
NHIDCL officials who attended the meeting opined that the site proposed for installation of PACS is quite depressed and it would not be convenient for vehicles to drive up and down.
They appealed to the Chief Secretary to give instruction to the Hqs 26 Sector Assam Rifles to identify an alternative site.
Notably PACS and its equipment have been purchased by the Government of India at the cost of Rs 12 crore but the equipment has been lying idle as no suitable site for their installation has been identified yet, informed a source.
Senior Counsel Khaidem Mani, A Romen Kumar (Amicus Curiae) and Meihoubam Rakesh appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate General N Kumarjit, CGSC S Samarjit, CGC S Suresh and Boboy Potshangbam appeared on behalf of the respondents.
The respondents listed in the case are the Government of India’s Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, 9 AR CO, 24 AR CO, 26 AR CO and State Government’s Principal Secretary (Home).

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