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Issue Debate #12 Inner Line Permit : Relevance & Constitutionality

Issue Debates Archives


Does the Inner Line Permit System run counter to Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution? Discuss the issue, tracing its evolution and the need for it in modern times.

Reading List:-

1. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-hills-are-alive-3/
2. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/inner-line-permitwhy-manipur-is-on-the-boil-again/


What are Issue Debates?

Issue Debates are centered around the idea that Forums such as ours should be more relevant to the Examination Process apart from the social connect that we already provide.

Everyday, Issue Debate will come up with questions on issues that are related to the Examination Process - The Mains Examination.

Issue Debates will cover hundreds of issues over a period of time, and will be highly focused on the upcoming Mains Examination.

Covering All Issue debates will ensure that candidates for the Mains examination would have covered a very significant part of their Current Affairs syllabus and would have covered most issues concerning the examination.


Peer Review: Members of the Forum Can review answers and add more angles to the Issue.

Frequency : Issue Debates will be vary between 1-3 in Number and will be posted Everyday

Who can benefit from Issue Debates?
Issue debates will focus on issues that are important for the Mains Examination. Hence candidates appearing for Mains 2015 and 2016 will both benefit from it. Issues are not merely temporal in nature, but span over a significant period of time.

Discussing various aspects of issues helps in gaining a wider perspective of the issue and would be helpful in forming opinions that could hugely benefit aspirants, in their journey towards Civil Services. For newcomers, it will also help in identifying the issues that need to be prepared for the Exam.


Note:-

Nature of Comments : Nature of comments on this thread are supposed to show depth of knowledge and intellect of the Candidates and should be strictly on - topics. Arguments should be logical and personal opinions or biases should be avoided.


Comments

  • The Inner line permit system, which is the result of our colonial past, definitely runs counter to Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution. It violates the following rights :

    — Art. 14 : Right to equality (Categorising Insiders vs Outsiders)
    — Art. 15 : No Discrimination (But here discrimination on basis of place of birth)

    (The above 2 may be skipped if you don't want to make things risky.)
    But most importantly :

    — Art. 19 (d) : to move freely throughout the territory of India.
    — Art. 19 (e) : to reside and settle in any part of territory of India.

    But usually in order to impose legality of the ILP system, the concept of reasonable restrictions and Schedule 6 is invoked.

    #Inner Line Permit system :

    —The ILP is a special pass or permit that is required to enter the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

    — The system was introduced by the British to protect their commercial interests, particularly in oil and tea. After independence the system stuck on, and various states demanded its usage.

    — The demand stems from the desire to protect the tribal peoples and their cultures from onslaughts by outsiders.

    — Any outsider visiting states with ILP must obtain a permit from Home Ministry prior to entering.

    — Currently the state of Manipur is witnessing turmoil, with the dominant Meiteis demanding its imposition and the other tribal groups such as Nagas, Kukis protesting against its imposition.

    # Any demand for the imposition must keep in mind its positives and negatives :

    * Why is ILP demanded :

    — Locals feeling insecure amidst frequent intrusions by outsiders.
    — These locals fear their historical dominant position might be eroded by the intrusion from outsiders.
    — Insecurity regarding jobs, land holding, and political dominance.
    — Some of the demands are certainly genuine in the wake of illegal migration from states of Bangladesh and Nepal.
    — Overburdened administration.

    * But the implementation of ILP creates many problems too :

    — It hinders the advancement or development of the regions. North-east is India’s least developed region, and the historical imposition of ILP is a major reason.

    — It runs contrary to government’s implementation of ‘Act East’ policy. Also BCIM corridor, which is soon going to be a reality requires NE states to be a unified zone.

    — Large scale co-ordination and manpower required for the proper implementation of ILp.

    — On the ground ILP entrenches ‘outsider phobia’ in the minds of locals.

    # So what is the way forward?

    — Certainly ILP as a concept is not in sync with the demands of 21st century where interconnectivity is the main prerequisite. India at present can ill-afford having one of its strategic reason cut-off from the rest of the world.

    -- The success of Act East hinges on the development of NE region.

    — Urgent efforts must be made to start a dialogue and consultations within various tribal groups so as to dissipate insecurities, which has been conspicuously missing so far.

    — A more expansive framework for the Sixth Schedule must immediately be extended.

    -- The perception of outsiders being invaders needs to be dispelled. Ultimately it all boils down to perceptions. Locals need to be made aware that integration with Indian mainland is only going to increase their economic prospects, and adequate protection would be made available with regard to tribal customs.
    Na mai padheya, Na mai likheya
    Par mai duniya, toh badha sikheya
  • @Captain_Peroxide ji.. The concept of ILP is not constitutional. Infact its legality has been challenged time and again. Our former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai has categorically stated that ILP is ultra-vires Constitution. Anybody willing to dig more on the legality of ILP can go through the following link :

    http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2013/12/20/ilp-confusion-worst-confounded/

    Also captain ji.. you have mentioned fifth schedule in your first para. It should be sixth schedule and art. 371A, G, H.
    Na mai padheya, Na mai likheya
    Par mai duniya, toh badha sikheya
  • @Captain_Peroxide Great answer.
    Just for clarity, can we look at ILP as a formal version of the Sons of the Soil theory. The demand for ILP is stemming from economic, social and cultural protection to the native population against non native migrants, similar to protection of Maharashtrians against northern migrants.
    The only difference I can think of is seeing of a true son of the Soil as only a Marathi manus against all natives of Maharashtra.
    As far as protection of tribal interests is considered its covered by the Constitution, PESA and similar provisions. So that isn't a big concern in ILP.
    Also ILP rewards a 'shared sovereignty' (or as mentioned above 'quasi Visa'). This is against the single sovereignty mentioned in the Constitution. So demand for ILP is not as consistent with the constitutional provisions as it seems.
    Some clarity would be great :)
  • @RasAlGhul
    I agree. Sixth Schedule only provides reasonable restriction to protect the interests of tribals in a particular area not for an entire state.
  • Inner line permit is one of the classic examples of the colonial era law which is yet to be revised in modern context.
    This law was instated by the British as East Bengal Frontier Regulation (EBFR) with the intention of protecting the tea plantation from the hill migrants.
    As of present the ILP has lost its context because:-

    1. It conflicts the article 19 which gives the citizen freedom to move and reside in any part of the country
    2. There is already provision of fifth and sixth schedule to provide protection to specific tribal or schedule pockets as deemed fit by the president. Cordoning off entire state is thus redundant proposition.
    3. It cuts the contact of the state with other part and prevents development. E.g Meghalaya which does not have ILP host great infrastructure and has developed into education hub with world class management and technical institutions attracting people through out the nation. On contrary Mizoram and Nagaland which share borders with Meghalaya has no such feather in its cap.
    4. ILP is antithetical to India Look East policy. India has broken ice with Bangladesh in getting direct road access from Kolkata to Tripura. It is working hard to develop BCIM corridor to integrate North East to rest of the world and boost economic prospects. In between that ILP will only create islands of isolation.

    What India needs today is solid internal security mechanism, integrated market and collectivized effort of the people so as to emerge as a strong economic force in the future.
    For this ILP has to be revised
    I am the PHOeNiX
  • @Captain_Peroxide ji.. The concept of ILP is not constitutional. Infact its legality has been challenged time and again. Our former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai has categorically stated that ILP is ultra-vires Constitution. Anybody willing to dig more on the legality of ILP can go through the following link :

    http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2013/12/20/ilp-confusion-worst-confounded/

    Also captain ji.. you have mentioned fifth schedule in your first para. It should be sixth schedule and art. 371A, G, H.


    "That such laws/regulations have not been abrogated despite their arbitrariness and unconstitutional character shows a lack of interest among the rulers of this country in the affairs of the North Eastern states." Nasty remarks by the author. Reflects poorly on the system prevailing in the country.
  • ILP is a official document issued to an outsider in order to enter a restricted area.It was introduced by the Britishers in order to protect the distinct culture,tradition and customs of the tribal people.

    It is now enforced in Nagaland,Mizoram and Arunachal which are prefominantly tribal states. This act is also demanded by the people of Manipur due to the following reasons:
    * Economic issue- the bussiness at Imphal is controlled by outsiders and the local people work as helpers.
    * Political issue- it has changed the political landscape in some parts of Manipur especially Jiribam and Imphal.Many illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Nepalis settle in these areas.
    * Demographic issue- the population of outsiders is more than the tribal population.

    The recently passed 3 bills in Manipur Legislative Assembly aim
    * to regulate the settlement of the outsiders
    * to allow the existing bussiness,trade and commerce except the ownership of land by outsiders.but in certain cases,it is allowed.
    * to protect the distinct culture,tradition and customs of the indigenous people both at hills and valley.

    It does not violate article 19 because it does not restrict any Indian citizens from entering Manipur .It only requires the possesion of the Identity card of the individual.Article 29 provides the right to protect the distinct culture,language and tradition.

    Way forward is the balance of the two fundamental rights under articles 19& 29.
    Any inconsistant clause should be amended.
    North East India is a very complex region inhabited by hundreds of tribal communities many of whom are facing extinction.e.g. Maram tribe of Manipur. The ambitious Act East policy is centred around the development of this region which also calls for protection of the indigenous culture and tradition.







  • edited September 2015
    Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the ground of place of birth. It mentions that no citizen shall be restricted access to public property and common resources like tanks, wells etc on the ground of place of birth. Someone not possessing ILP is prohibited from accessing the resources within the state. So there is clear discrimination between citizens of state and outsiders. In case of ILP, state governments are deciding who shall get the right to access.
    Art 19- Freedom of movement can be restricted on the grounds of protection of interest of ST or the interest of general public. so ILP is not in conflict with this Art.
    Art 29 Any section of citizens shall have right to conserve their language, script or culture of its own. So no direct relation of this article with ILP.

    Art 371-C Special provisions related to hill areas of Manipur. So again not related with ILP.
    Musafir hu yaaron... na ghar hai na thikana... mujhe chalate jana hai, bas chalate hi jana hai.........
  • @lafanga_warrior ji.. Please analyse Art. 14 too from the perspective of inner line permit system.

    Also ILP as a system goes against the broad principle of freedom of movement, but if its looked in its entirety.. then reasonable restrictions allowed under Art. 19(5) allows such a permit system. In fact as I stated my answer, this provision of reasonable restriction is cited whenever ILP debate comes up.
    Na mai padheya, Na mai likheya
    Par mai duniya, toh badha sikheya
  • @lafanga_warrior ji.. Please analyse Art. 14 too from the perspective of inner line permit system.

    Also ILP as a system goes against the broad principle of freedom of movement, but if its looked in its entirety.. then reasonable restrictions allowed under Art. 19(5) allows such a permit system. In fact as I stated my answer, this provision of reasonable restriction is cited whenever ILP debate comes up.
    Art 14 - Equality before law, All the citizens should be equally subjected to the law of the land. Under ILP, residents of the state are not subjected to the act, so conflict exists.
    Art 14 permits reasonable classification of persons subjected to the law, but the classification should not be arbitrary. ILP classification can be considered arbitrary as Art 15 prohibits classification on the grounds of place of birth.

    Any law experts please comment.
    Musafir hu yaaron... na ghar hai na thikana... mujhe chalate jana hai, bas chalate hi jana hai.........
  • Art 14 and 15 doesn't come into picture with ILP .. Only Art. 19 comes into picture
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • Art 14 and 15 doesn't come into picture with ILP .. Only Art. 19 comes into picture
    please read my explanation above and counter with arguments regarding Art 14 and 15.
    Musafir hu yaaron... na ghar hai na thikana... mujhe chalate jana hai, bas chalate hi jana hai.........
  • edited September 2015
    Art 14 and 15 doesn't come into picture with ILP .. Only Art. 19 comes into picture
    please read my explanation above and counter with arguments regarding Art 14 and 15.


    Art 15 (4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

    14. Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India

    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • edited September 2015
    Art 14 and 15 doesn't come into picture with ILP .. Only Art. 19 comes into picture
    please read my explanation above and counter with arguments regarding Art 14 and 15.


    Art 15 (4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

    14. Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India

    As per 2001 census, Manipur has 34% tribal population. So can the restrictions throughout the state be justified in the name of advancement of Scheduled tribes? Shouldnt ILP be applied to tribal areas specifically?
    Musafir hu yaaron... na ghar hai na thikana... mujhe chalate jana hai, bas chalate hi jana hai.........
  • @TonyStark ji.. a few queries :

    -- For Art. 15 : Does the system of ILP stand for the advancement of various groups? According to me ILP is just a protection measure.. No state has ever invoked ILP system for the advancement of its constituents.

    -- For Art. 14 : Consider me and a guy from Mizoram. We both are Indian citizens, but before the state of Mizoram we stand as two different entities. Does this not violate equality before law?

    Although I believe you are very correct, that inspite of ILP system .. equal Protection of law is applicable, as in equal protection of laws, different groups of people are given equal protection within their group. And hence me and this mizoram guy are two groups, and laws shall be equally applied within our group.

    I think I might be getting too technical :-B
    Na mai padheya, Na mai likheya
    Par mai duniya, toh badha sikheya
  • edited September 2015
    Art 14 and 15 doesn't come into picture with ILP .. Only Art. 19 comes into picture
    please read my explanation above and counter with arguments regarding Art 14 and 15.


    Art 15 (4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

    14. Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India

    As per 2001 census, Manipur has 34% tribal population. So can the restrictions throughout the state be justified in the name of advancement of Scheduled tribes? Shouldnt ILP be applied to tribal areas specifically?
    as per my understanding from news and inputs from others......there are three broad cultural groups in manipur...meteis, nagas and kukis..where nagas and kukis are tribes. the demand for ILP has been raised by meiteis with parallel demand for tribal status..actually the tribal groups are opposing the ILP move.......

    in my personal opinion granting of ILP in 3 states is attached more to national security matters than on tribal matters ..few years ago meghalaya also demanded ILP status....
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • @TonyStark ji.. a few queries :

    -- For Art. 15 : Does the system of ILP stand for the advancement of various groups? According to me ILP is just a protection measure.. No state has ever invoked ILP system for the advancement of its constituents.

    -- For Art. 14 : Consider me and a guy from Mizoram. We both are Indian citizens, but before the state of Mizoram we stand as two different entities. Does this not violate equality before law?

    Although I believe you are very correct, that inspite of ILP system .. equal Protection of law is applicable, as in equal protection of laws, different groups of people are given equal protection within their group. And hence me and this mizoram guy are two groups, and laws shall be equally applied within our group.

    I think I might be getting too technical :-B
    say for eg...one caste gets reservation is a state but doesn't get in another....or another example...gujarat bans liquor but not delhi......unequal laws in different states....i hope its cleared now...
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • Manipur is geographically divided into valley (8%) and hills(92%). The valley supports 60% population. Valley people cant buy land in hill areas but valley is open to all. Meiteis reside in valley while nagas and kukis reside in hills. Meiteis do not get ST reservation and find it difficult to compete with mainland Indians in Unreserved category. This created pressure in the land,jobs,culture of the valley people. Also, Nepalis,Bangladeshis reside in hills where there is no land revenue system. But they also share the limited resources of Manipur. Thus,the meiteis feel cornered and threaten.They demand a law similar to ILP which prohibit ownership of land property by outsiders especially by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,Myanmar and Nepal. It is important to note that there is no restriction on other rights of the Indian citizens. There is no other separate law or regulation for other Indian citizens.

    Regarding the ST status demand of Meiteis,Meiteis were ST till 1951. But it was revoked without proper consultation with the Meiteis. Also, Meiteis have their own culture,language,Sanamahi religion(though majority of Meiteis follow hinduism),geographical isolation,backwardness which fulfill the criteria to get ST status even for a short peroid. Since Meiteis are dominant group in Manipur they fear it could create insecurity among different communities in Manipur. But a separate law can be created providing reservation in state services according to population.

    Now, we can say that ILP demand is related to the question of survival and the chance to get the opportunity in ST reservation. Its the matter of justice.. This the real picture in Manipur right now..
    Jai Hind...
  • Wow!
    *No good deed goes unpunished* | I am no knight, do not call me Sir | I write articles for Civil Services Aspirants, you can find them at http://blog.forumias.com/author/neyawn |
  • Manipur is geographically divided into valley (8%) and hills(92%). The valley supports 60% population. Valley people cant buy land in hill areas but valley is open to all. Meiteis reside in valley while nagas and kukis reside in hills. Meiteis do not get ST reservation and find it difficult to compete with mainland Indians in Unreserved category. This created pressure in the land,jobs,culture of the valley people. Also, Nepalis,Bangladeshis reside in hills where there is no land revenue system. But they also share the limited resources of Manipur. Thus,the meiteis feel cornered and threaten.They demand a law similar to ILP which prohibit ownership of land property by outsiders especially by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,Myanmar and Nepal. It is important to note that there is no restriction on other rights of the Indian citizens. There is no other separate law or regulation for other Indian citizens.

    Regarding the ST status demand of Meiteis,Meiteis were ST till 1951. But it was revoked without proper consultation with the Meiteis. Also, Meiteis have their own culture,language,Sanamahi religion(though majority of Meiteis follow hinduism),geographical isolation,backwardness which fulfill the criteria to get ST status even for a short peroid. Since Meiteis are dominant group in Manipur they fear it could create insecurity among different communities in Manipur. But a separate law can be created providing reservation in state services according to population.

    Now, we can say that ILP demand is related to the question of survival and the chance to get the opportunity in ST reservation. Its the matter of justice.. This the real picture in Manipur right now..
    Jai Hind...
    Spot on! The ILP debate has all to do with how Meiteis do not have any constitutional / legal protection vs. tribal (Naga, Kuki); the latter obviously have Art. 371C est. HAC and Autonomous District Councils under Manipur (DC) Act, 1971. So Meiteis are agitating for ILP, ST status. The tribals feel they do not have the requisite documentation establishing them as Manipuris and could thus end up being categorized as outsiders, losing the privileges they derive from these Acts, Constitutional provision. Hence they have been opposing this. Ultimately ILP as @RasAlGhul rightly pointed out is an archaic instrument of the British era which needs to go. Obviously it would have to be done by Centre on the grounds of exercising its residuary powers (not mentioned in either SL, CL, UL) and simultaneously for all 3 states on grounds of unconstitutionality.
  • @ClarKent , few more clarfication. The indigenous people as defined in the bills passed by Manipur Legislative Assembly include Meiteis,kuki tribes, naga tribes,Meitei pangal(Manipuri Muslim). So, the reason why the hill tribes are opposing the bills are
    * the census 1951 as the base year to define indegenous people
    * many tribes from Myanmar are still coming to Manipur
    * mis understanding.

    However, the ILP like act are not unconstitutional as it does not violate article 19. It only prohibits the buying of land by outsiders. We know that right to property is a legal right. There is no restriction on the residence,movement etc. It only brings article 29 alive.

    There is also no denial of artcle 14,15,16 etc.
  • @SPECTRE_007
    Inner Line Permit is required for Indian citizens to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
    Just saw this definition on official site of DONER,@Captain_Peroxide also mentioned the same.

    Isn't it contradictory to what you are saying that ILP doesn't restrict movement

    Please clarify this doubt
    Thanks
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"
  • @MD47 ji.. aap bilkul sahi hai. ILP restricts free movement of people, in addition to preventing people from outside to come and settle in such regions. Spectre bhai gave only half of the definition.

    Hence we can think that it runs foul on Art. 19. But art.19 also contains the provision of reasonable restrictions, and usually this 'reasonable restrictions' clause is invoked when demand of ILP has to be justified.

    So you can say that ILP goes against the idea of free movement, but does not run afoul of Art.19. The only provision it runs foul of is Art. 15, where discrimination is being done on basis of place of birth. If anyone can Prove that it does not run foul of art.15, I'll gladly change my opinion.
    Na mai padheya, Na mai likheya
    Par mai duniya, toh badha sikheya
  • What exactly is the Inner Line Permit, and why is the issue so sensitive?

    Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside certain states, to obtain such a permit.

    ILP is a British era document. This provision was made by Britishers under an Act called as the Bengal Frontier Provision Act, 1873. But it is still used in independent India to protect tribal cultures of the North East.

    At present, the ILP is in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. In Manipur, large scale protests have called for its implementation for years.

    Under the ILP system, a certificate can be issued to outsiders only for travel in the areas covered by ILP. A non-resident also cannot buy property in these areas. Long term residence however, is allowed under certain kinds of ILP. Such provisions though are not valid for Central government employees and security personnel.

    In 2012, the Manipur state assembly passed a resolution urging the Government of India, to implement the ILP system in Manipur.

    The Manipur Assembly introduced the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill this year, but it was withdrawn on July 15 because the JCILPS felt it protected immigrants more than native Manipuris.

    There is no ILP in Manipur because Manipur was never under British rule. In 1949, the King of Manipur signed a document merging the region with the Indian Union. Before 1949, Manipur was a sovereign state with an elected government.

    The argument of JCILPS is that since Manipur can no longer protect its indigenous culture and distinctiveness after the 1949 merger, the ILP system must be put in place.

    The free entry of 'outsiders' both from within and outside the Indian state is a central cause for the demand for ILP. Some believe that absence of a permit system can make indigenous communities in Manipur a 'minority', both culturally and demographically.

    ILP proponents assert that after independence and subsequent accession of Manipur to India, the influx of foreigners and other Indians into Manipur has increased exponentially. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal has also gone up. This has led to increased competition for employment opportunities among other things. Local youth have to compete with outsiders for jobs. Moreover, outsiders are often ready to work for lower wages.

    ILP advocates also say that Manipur had not acceded to the Indian Union when the Constitution was drafted, and hence it had no say in the framing of the Constitution. Many advocates thus support constitutional amendment to make the ILP system possible.

    Proponents also argue that since Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, which have similar indigenous cultures and problems post independence, have implemented ILP, Manipur should also be included in the system.

    Furthermore, most political parties in Manipur and outside, support the implementation of ILP. The BJP has very strongly demanded its implementation for the past few months, after being opposed to it for a long time. Regional parties in Manipur mostly support the ILP, and although the Congress did not take a strong stand on the issue in its 2012 election manifesto, it is officially opposed to the ILP system. Long time Congress ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is also opposed to ILP.

    However, CM Okram Ibobi Singh, a member of the Congress party, has supported the ILP and asked the BJP-led Modi government to implement it. Thus, even within political parties there seem to be differences on the ILP. Meanwhile, agitations and curfews continue, life in the region comes to a standstill and lives are lost in the pursuit of the ILP issue.
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