It takes courage to air personal views against Government policy and I quote Voltaire - “It’s dangerous to be right when the Government is wrong.”
Many wrong measures have been taken by the State Government in the administration of the hill districts and now the appointment of “Interim chairmen of ADC” would top the list. The Government seems to suggest that, regardless of the Manipur Hill Areas Autonomous District Council Act, 2000, which they are supposed to administer, the Government can do anything as far as the hill areas of Manipur are concerned. By doing this the Government appears to mock the intelligence of the people and shove discriminatory actions down our throat. This order appears to taunt us to react and one of the ways available would be to take the matter to Court to stay and quash this illegal order.
Wrong 1: Only if the present Government was serious with ADC political dispensation per se, they could have made the respective ADCs headed by a Chairman as a caretaker on the expiry of their term citing the pandemic situation.
Why an exception for ADC after expiry of their term ?
Wrong 2: Welcoming the initiative of the Government on pretext of Covid pandemic and the make believe olive branch accepted by the Chairman Forum is a blunder since such arrangements may not be the aspirations of grassroot politics. Is their chair more important than people’s aspirations ?
Wrong 3: At the outset I would like to avail the benefit of doubt since I’ve not heard of reactions from public in general and ATSUM in particular. We know ATSUM has been active and spearheading the movement for early election in hill districts and also had series of meeting with the incumbent Government. Where are you now ?
Legal ramifications: This is a sad state of affairs. Opportunistic reaction of the Chairman Forum is clearly discernible. We cannot welcome the interim arrangement as it is an illogical order. Section 6 of Manipur Hill Areas Autonomous District Council Act, 2000 provides for a 5 year term of office of members including the Chairman who is also a member. The Act does not have any provision for such an appointment after 5 year term or appointing a non-member or an ordinary citizen to be the Chairperson of ADC. The last Chairmen have become ordinary persons as they are not members of the ADC. Any administrative and statutory actions taken by a non-member Chairperson would be illegal as he is not a member of the ADC. This order of the Government should be challenged immediately in the Court and a stay obtained.
The interim arrangement of the Government appears to be a knee jerk reaction to find a way out of a tight situation. The interim chairmen would surely be delighted to get this appointment for obvious reasons. However, this does not reflect the sentiments at the ground level.
The writer is a Social Activist and can be reached at 9810269755, New Delhi Email: [email protected]