BMC Wins Court Stay Order Against Rump Elections
(January 27) The B’nei Menashe Council of Manipur won a legal victory this week when it obtained a temporary court injunction forbidding the Shavei Israel-supported opposition to the Council to hold unauthorized new elections. The opposition, led by former BMC Chairman Yitzhak Seimang Haokip and Sehjalal Kipgen, the defeated candidate for the Chairmanship in the BMC elections held on November 5, had called for a revote on January 27.
The hearing took place on January 22 in the Chief Magistrate’s Court of Churachandpur. Representing the B’nei Menashe Council, the petitioner in the case, were its lawyer and its General Secretary Ohaliav Haokip. The request for an injunction was filed against Yitzhak Seimang Haokip, who had sent out a letter on January 5 that called for the convening of a rump “Election Committee” meeting on January 10. Attended by a number of breakaway B’nei Menashe congregations, this meeting in turn set the January 27 th date for new elections.
In its decision, the Court ruled that Seimang Haokip and “his men, agents and privies” are “hereby restrained from conducting the proposed election.” Seimang Haokip was summoned to appear with a lawyer before the Court on February 5, in the presence of the petitioners, to show cause why the temporary injunction should not be made permanent.
Such an appearance would be unlikely to overturn the injunction, since the Court’s 9- page decision stated that it found the B’nei Menashe Council’s case persuasive. “Upon perusal of the documents and materials [brought before the court by the BMC],” the Court said, “there is a clear prima facie case in favour of the petitioners,” since the records containing the minutes of the November 5 election “clearly establish that the new Executive Body was legitimately constituted.” Unless Seimang can prove the Court wrong and show that the November 5
elections were not free and fair, the elected B’nei Menashe Council will gain official state recognition as the representative body of the B’nei Menashe of Manipur.