All over again

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/6/2018 11:49:46 AM IST

 Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) and Joint Co-Ordination Committee (JCC) have served a loud reminder on the PDA coalition government that they are not in any mood to let the government cruise past their pending demands and hold the elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) with 33% women reservation. It may be recalled that Dimapur-based JCC had spearheaded the issue against holding elections to ULBs in Nagaland without taking the entire Naga public into confidence. Later in order to broaden the platform, the NTAC was formed to demand that the then DAN-III government under T.R.Zeliang should not rush through with elections to ULBs. The then DAN government did a 360-degree turn over the Nagaland Municipal Act 2006 which it had revoked on September 22,2012. On November 24,2016 the opposition-less and all-party DAN government, (with NPF, BJP and independents) and without any debate and under the shadow of party-line whips in the assembly, steam rolled the lone independent dissenting voice to overturn the September 22,2012 house resolution which had exempted Nagaland from implanting Article 243T and Part IXA of the constitution to give 33% reservation to women in ULBs. It may be mentioned that the then DAN-III had decided to hold elections with 33% women reservation for various specious reasons. It was unfortunate that the manner in which the DAN-III government attempted to brush aside the tribal hohos amounted to a huge snub. Instead of trying to iron out the differences, the then government appeared to be hell bent in going through with its decision , even to the point of risking confrontation with the members of various tribe organisations. Entire Nagaland burned because the state government sought to downplay the serious apprehensions just because of the Supreme Court observation to the PIL filed by the women group. In a re-twist to the entire issue, the DAN government again re-revoked the November 24,2016 resolution on December 14,2017. The NTAC and JCC believe that the issue could reach a settlement where the conclusion would mean selection of women candidates rather than making so many seats for women candidates only. NTAC and JCC have said that election to ULBs in Nagaland “cannot be held until and unless amendments are made in the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 by safeguarding the powers conferred under Article 371-A of the constitution of India.” In order to achieve that the house has to prepare a proper report through its assembly committee to introduce an amendment to the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 so that it incorporates the guarantees enshrined under Article 371 A in order to provide a legal handle to the spirit behind Article 371 A. The responsibility of the elected members to provide adequate inputs on such issues and also enlighten and safeguard the people and their interests cannot be greater. The apprehensions stem from the facts as illustrated by lessons from other states where court interpretations have made societies feel betrayed. That is not surprising since lawyers and judges go by available facts of the constitution which are interpreted in as many ways as legally tenable. The issue again brings a loud reminder about the need for codification without which, Article 371A would remain susceptible. However, till such a time, the PDA government need to take a broader look at the issue and decide which path it would traverse.

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