Kharingyo Naga Shimrah
Contd from previous issue
1. Governor as the head of the State has to protect the tribal rights and political interest of the tribal people in the hill districts of Manipur. Please remember, I give my vote to represent my voice for 5 years. The spirit of democracy is being kiiled in the heart of some tribal commoners in Manipur by ruling Government and Governor for not protecting their rights enshrined in the Constitution.
2. Hill Areas Committee (HAC) recommendation: Hill Areas Committee comprising all of 19 MLAs is a Constitutionally empowered entity has given their recommendation and suggested to conduct ADC election on time dated on 8th October 2020.
3. Term extension: Term Extension given in our Constitution under Article 371 (c), 1971 Act regarding ADC term extension doesn’t qualify, legally speaking. General public has given our vote to represent our democratic right for five years enshrined in the Constitution but not beyond their tenure. And election should be conducted on time as per the law of the land.
4. High-court order: Manipur High Court has given order to announce the date of ADC election within one week time on 2nd March 2021.
5. State Election Commission Manipur: State Election commission has “directed the State that commission has stated preparation for holding of General Election to the ADC and Draft Electoral Rolls will be published upon notification by the Government” –Imphal, the 13th January, 2021 (State Election Commission Manipur). They have prepared as per their rules and regulation in our general public understanding.
In conclusion, what are the alternative options we can explore in the current political scenario? The best option is to know our legal rights given in the Constitution and pursue our political interests by using different mechanism as per the law of the land. What the law says regarding ‘Term Extension’ -read, save as otherwise provided in this section, the term of office of a member shall be five years and commence from the date of the notification of his election or nomination under section 12 or from the date on which the vacancy in which he is elected or nominated has occurred, whichever date is later; Term extension: “Provided that the administrator may, when satisfied that it is necessary in order to avoid administrative difficulty, extend the term of office of all the members by such period not exceeding one year as he think fit”, legally speaking. The term for ADC was completed in May 2020 but it was extended on the pretext of rainy season and seed sowing season as requested by the ADC Chairman. This justification is not convincing to me because this is legally incorrect and this misinterpretation of Article 371 (c) or Act 1971 should be protected by Hon’ble Court or by the Governor as the guardian of the Constitution in the State in my understanding. Election should be conducted once their tenure has completed as per the law of the land. Or politicians want to repeat the history of ADC, which were not held from 1989 to 2010, as we know that all development were not executed through ADC members for the last 20 years; however, trying to repeat the same mistake will be erroneous on the part of ruling Government, politically speaking.
Why all tribal MLAs silent on this issue? Elected representatives have to protect the tribal rights, rightful development, and political interest in my understanding. If they are politically silent, then who will represent our tribal political interest and protect our legal rights is a million dollar question.
The writer is an ex-executive officer in Greenpeace International, Human Right Activist, Specialized in Law and Governance, presently working as Social Activist in Manipur. He can be reached at [email protected]