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Deferment of civic polls illegal: NPCC
Published on 26 Apr. 2010 12:08 AM IST
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NPCC has condemned the “partisan manner” in which the members of Advisory Committees for municipal and town councils were appointed and has also questioned the legality on deferment of civic body elections.
NPCC media cell chairman, Dr. K. Hoshi said in a statement that the tenure of the Advisory Committees which took charge from the date of expiry of tenure of various municipal and town councils would expire in the months of July/August in most cases.
Pointing out the varying reasons which the state government cited for deferment of election to the civic bodies indefinitely, Dr. Hoshi said when examined from the constitutional and legal point of view, the deferment of election was “unconstitutional because civic body elections have been provided constitutional status under Part IX-A of the Constitution.”
Buttressing his point, Dr. Hoshi cited a judgement delivered by the Supreme Court on October 19, 2006 which stated that the “impossibility of holding election is not a factor against the Election Commission.” Dr. Hoshi said the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 has no provision to defer the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections under any circumstance. The Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 has constitutional status for which, the State Cabinet could not over-ride the rules contained thereunder without an act of amendment by the State Legislature in the house, he added.
Dr. Hoshi said it was “very unfortunate” that the State Election Commission instead of exercising its constitutional power was maintaining stoic silence in the matter and in the process “weakened democracy.” He said the Commission should explain as to what prevented it to carry out its constitutional mandate and should fulfill its constitutional obligation by calling civic body elections at the earliest. It also urged the governor of Nagaland to intervene into the matter.
Dr. Hoshi reminded that the state cabinet had cited three reasons for deferring election to the civic bodies indefinitely on December 16, 2009 which included; on the basis of the demand made by the All Nagaland Municipal & Town Council Forum not to implement 33% reservation; on the basis of the representation submitted by Naga Hoho and Eastern Naga Peoples’ Organization (ENPO) requesting the government to withhold civic body elections in view of the on-going peace process as these organizations fear of ramifications to the on-going peace process, and on the basis of the decision of the High Powered Committee (HPC) which was instituted in 2008 to study the Nagaland Municipal & Town Council Act that had not submitted its report.
However, the NPCC, said minister for urban development and NPF president, Dr. Shürhozelie in his clarification issued in print media on December 23, 2009 stated that the main reason for deferring the elections was to prevent strained relationship between the political parties likely to be caused by election which might derail the decision of 60 members of NLA to work together with one voice towards solution to the Naga political problem.
In the light of the judgment passed by the Supreme Court, the NPCC reiterated that the deferment of ULB elections on “whimsical ground” as stated by Dr. Shürhozelie was “unconstitutional and illegal.”
NPCC said Dr. Shürhozelie has failed in his duty and responsibility to ensure timely conduct of civic body elections and instead subverted the constitutional provisions guaranteed to the people by misleading the public with whimsical excuse for deferment of ULB elections. Dr. Hoshi said if the minister failed to explain the legality and constitutionality on deferment of civic body elections, he should step down on moral grounds.

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