Former ADC Members of Ukhrul have expressed their vehement discontent over the court order. Putting forth their argument, they contended that the court order can have far-reaching implications on the development and betterment of the grassroots governance, as it violated the provision of the Rule 9 of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1972.
TFM Ukhrul Correspondent
Former ADC Members of Ukhrul District have strongly decried the ruling of Manipur High Court dated 8 August 2023 in regards to WP(C) No. 288 of 2023, whereby the lone BJP Councillor, Mark Luithing has been reinstalled as Caretaker Chairman of ADC Ukhrul.
The writ petition was filed by Former Vice Chairman of ADC Ukhrul, M. Isaac, questioning the validity and illegality of the impugned order dated 27 March 2023 issued by the Deputy Secretary (TA & Hills), Government of Manipur whereby allowing former ADC Member of Ukhrul, and the lone BJP Councillor, Mark Luithing to function as Care taker Chairman of ADC Ukhrul and also direction for allowing M. Isaac being the former Vice Chairman to function as Caretaker Chairman as mandated by the Manipur (Hill. Areas) District Council Act, 1972.
Briefing the media on August 10, the former ADC Members of Ukhrul have expressed their vehement discontent over the court order. Putting forth their argument, they contended that the court order can have far-reaching implications on the development and betterment of the grassroots governance, as it violated the provision of the Rule 9 of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1972. They said that the court order has flouted the Rule 9 which stipulates that former vice chairman M Issac should be allowed to take over in the absence of former chairman Dr Yaronsho Ngalung who resigned on personal ground on 6 June, 2022. The present
Questioning the motives behind the court order, the ex-ADC members stated that ADC is a democratic institution and no one should be given political appointment on ground of political affiliation.
They further contended that discrimination against the tribals in this manner is at the root of the prevailing hill-valley disparity in the state.
Responding to the order’s claim of lack of evidence to prove that M. Isaac functioned as vice chairman of the council, the former members stated that Isaac was elected as the vice chairman on 20 December, 2017.
The ex-ADC members have further urged the Centre to take note of the state government’s claim of the ADCs being functional by creating caretaker chairmanship while delaying the elections to the ADCs
Former ADC Somimayar Awungshi stated that “through political undue influence, the lone BJP Councillor has been given the charge of Caretaker Chairman of Ukhrul District again. Vice Chairman election was held on 20 December 2017 as per the accordance of the rules enshrined in the Act. Manipur High Court ruling is being influenced by the BJP Party of Manipur.”
The court had dismissed the writ petition filed by Vice Chairman M. Isaac in view of the provision of Rule 9 of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Rule, 1972. Somimayar Awungshi challenged and questioned, if it is so what legality does the BJP Ex-ADC member Mark Luithing have the right to take shelter in Rule 9. It should be applicable to all ADC members and must be treated with equality.”
Former ADC Paothing Vashum stated that “through party interference and undue influence the lone BJP Councillor was given charge as the Caretaker Chairman of Ukhrul District without following any norms and rules. In the last ADC election, 22 from NPF, 1 from BJP and 1 from Independent were elected by the people. According to Rule 9 of the Act, Vice Chairman should be the Caretaker Chairman since the formal Chairman has tendered his resignation. This is the reason why we cannot trust the present Government. It is purely a discrimination. We condemn the political appointment of Mark Luithing as Caretaker Chairman of ADC Ukhrul. The judgement and order by the High Court is not acceptable. We will contest the ruling since it is against the Act.”
The ruling of Manipur High Court has created confusion and is likely to have far-reaching implications on the development and betterment of grassroots governance.