Imphal, Jan 27:
State government authority is seeking more time to give their reply to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed challenging the legality of the government order prohibiting publishing any book on Manipur with prior screening by a committee the government that was set up on September 13, 2022, at Manipur High Court.
In the second hearing, Government of Manipur have been given time till February 13, 2023 to furnish their reply to the PIL filed by senior journalist Pradip Phanjoubam on December 19, 2022.
In the first hearing on December 19, the government advocate was given time till January 23 to reply, but this was not complied on the date of the second hearing. The government advocate instead sought another month’s time to do so. The court in its ruling allowed a shorter time till February 13, 2023, for the reply.
The case challenges the legality of the government order prohibiting publishing any book on Manipur with prior screening by a committee the government has set up on September 13, 2022.
Prior to filing the PIL, the litigant had written a letter on October 28, 2022, to the Manipur Minister in charge of Education, Law and Legislative Affairs, to withdraw the government order of September 13, 2022, requiring book authors to seek prior approval of their work by the government committee before getting their works published.
If any book or published research works leads to a false and demeaning image of Manipur, there are other legal means to seek retribution against publishers, authors and researchers to withdraw their works from the market, or to pay damages, the litigant’s October 28 letter to the Manipur Education, Law and Legislative Affairs Minister said.
Only when no reply or suitable rectification of the contested order was forthcoming in the litigant on the advice of his advocate Junior Luwang went ahead with the decision to file the PIL on December 19, 2022.