Politics in keeping the ADC elections pending
Kharingyo Naga Shimrah
Why is the Government of Manipur trying to extend ADC election in Manipur ? Why is the Governor of Manipur, who is a guardian of Article 371 (C) 1971 Act still silent when tribal people’s Constitutional rights are being denied by the Government in Manipur ? What are the alternative options tribal people can explore in the current political scenario?
In the time of VV Giri the President of India declared Article 371 (C) under 1971 Act, before Manipur attained statehood on 21st January 1972. Those citizens who were covered by this Act have every right to revive and strengthen the tribal rights enshrined in the Constitution of India, especially given in the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) order, 1971 under Article 371 (c) given in the name of president of India Shri VV Giri, its subsequent orders of Hill Areas Committee of 1971, Autonomous District Council Act of 1971, (w.e.f. 15-2-1972). Government of Manipur which has been trying to keep on postponing ADC election is directly trying to nullify the existing Constitutional rights of Article 371 (c), 1971 Act Government of India which is against the law of the land in my understanding. And why is the Governor still silent and what are the alternative options we have in the current political scenario? To understand this political context, let’s discuss in details :
What is Manipur (Hill Area) District Council Act, 1971 (Act No. 76 of 1971) and why they have been trying to extend ADC election in Manipur ?
This Act may be called the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. By definition, this Act, unless the context otherwise requires;
a. ‘Administration’ means the administrator of the Union Territory of MANIPUR appointed under Article 239 of the Constitution;
b. ‘Autonomous District’ means an autonomous district referred to in sub-section (1) of section 3;
c. ‘Building’ includes an out-house, stable, latrine, urinal, shed, hut, wall (other than boundary wall) and any other structure (whether of masonry, bricks, wood, mud or other material) but does not include any potable or temporary shelter;
d. ‘Constituency’ means a district council constituency provided by order made under section 5 for the purpose of election to the temporary council;
e. ‘Deputy Commissioner’ in relation to any district council means the officer appointed as such by the administrator, by notification in the official Gazette, to perform the function of the Deputy Commissioner under this Act in the autonomous district for which such district council has been constituted;
f. ‘Hill Areas’ means the Hill Areas determined by the President by any notification issued under sub-section (2) of section 52 of the Government of Union Territory Act, 1963 (20 of 1963) and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act;
g. ‘Hill Areas Committee’ means the standing Committee referred to in section 52 of the Government of Union Territory Act, 1963, (20 of 1963);
h. ‘Market’ include any place where persons assemble for the sale of, or for the purpose of sale of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, animals intended for human food or any other articles of human food whatsoever with or without the consent of the owner of such place not withstanding that there may be no common regulation for the concourse of buyers and sellers and the owner of the place or by any other person;
i. ‘Member’ means a member of a district council constituted under this Act;
j. Official Gazette means the Gazette of the Union Territory of Manipur;
k. ‘Person’ does not include a body of persons;
l. Prescribed means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
m. ‘Scheduled Tribe’ has the same meaning assigned to clause (25) of the Article 366 of the Constitution;
n. ‘Vehicle’ includes a carriage, card, hand-cart, bicycle, tricycle and every wheeled conveyance which is used or is capable of being used on a street but does not include a mechanically propelled vehicle.
The reason why the ruling Government wants to delay the ADC election:
1. Covid-19 pandemic in Manipur. However, Covid-19 situation in Manipur is under control and most of the activities in the State are back to normal ways. Election in Meghalaya and Assam can be conducted then why not in Manipur ?
2. Municipal election and Gram Panchayet election: Why the Government is mixing with other election and there is nothing such in law to conduct all Municipal and Gram Panchayat and ADC to conduct in the same time.
3. New District Creation: The Government wants to conduct ADC election along with four new districts. It will take various processes from Cabinet decision to Manipur Legislative Assembly, to appoint delimitation constitute and make financial budget so on and so forth. This is just trying to divide among the tribal people and trying to delay the ADC election in my opinion.
4. Governor as the head of the State has to protect the Constitutional right of the tribal given in the Constitution under Article 371 (C), 1971 Act in respect of the tribal in Manipur in my thought.
Personal reflection on the delay of ADC Election:
1. The ruling party has no strong root in the hill and they have slim chances of getting majority in the ADC election. However, they are hopeful, if they can conduct ADC election after General Legislative Assembly (MLA) Election in all Hill district in my analysis. They are using political-whip to control tribal MLAs and ADC Councillors.
2. The ruling Government has no preparedness politically to face election. They are trying to buy time to face other party and they want to overshadow all coalition parties in the coming election.
3. There must be a political reason why they want to delay; are they trying to delay till next year or defunct the ADC and utilize all fund in the valley, just curious !
Governor as the guardian of Article 371 (c), Act 1971, should protect our tribal rights enshrined in the Constitution of India:
(To be contd)