What ails the hill tribals... The proposed Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill , 2021 vis-a-vis the original Act
Sira Kharay, Advocate
Contd from previous issue
Necessary statutory provision may be made for this purpose in the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 (Emphasis added)” (Administrative Reforms Commission Report on the Administration of Union Territories and NEFA, 1969). Eventually, the provision of Article 371C was introduced into the Constitution of India by way of 27th Constitutional Amendment in the year 1971, and in pursuance of the powers conferred thereto, the President of India promulgated the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972 for the separate administration of the “Hill Areas”. Moreover, by enacting the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971, the tribal dominated “Hill Areas” of Manipur were finally constituted into autonomous district councils. The State Government, however, has been constantly encroaching upon this sanctity of tribal autonomy.
The hills are erupting once again. Thanks to the blunt attempt to reject the proposed Bill. For decades, the hill tribals have been subjected to diverse forms of intimidation, ill-treatment, rejection, exclusion and oppression. The real threat to Manipur if any is not “tribal autonomy” then, but “majoritarianism of the dominant community”.
Now, the State Government for all purposes has no legal competence to either reject or withhold the proposed Bill, and the only legal recourse available is to “normally give effect to the recommendation of the Hill Areas Committee” or “if the Council is of the opinion that it would not be expedient to do so or that the HAC was not competent to make any such recommendations, the matter shall be referred to the Governor whose decision thereon shall be final and binding on the Council and action shall be taken accordingly” as provided under Paragraph 2 of the Third Schedule to the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) Order, 1972 and Rule 12A of the Rules of Business of the Govt of Manipur, 1972.