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NPF calls inclusion of 8 non-tribal MLAs in HAC unconstitutional


Party resolved to oppose Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat’s September 1 order as those Assembly Segments are from the Unscheduled Area.

TFM News Service

The Naga People’s Front, Manipur State Unit on Monday rejected the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat’s September 1 order inducting eight non-tribal MLAs in Hill Area Committee as arbitrary and unconstitutional

According to a press statement issued by NPF Manipur state unit’s general secretary (Admin) Honreikhui Kashung, office bearers of the party had an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.

“The Matter was thoroughly deliberated and observed that the order was arbitrary and unconstitutional,” it said.  The meeting resolved to oppose the order as those Assembly Segments are from the Unscheduled Area, it added.

Amid raging controversy over the draft Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021, eight MLAs representing assembly segments which were earlier considered valley constituencies were inducted as members of Hill Area Committee.  An order had been issued by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly in this regard in September.

As per the order signed by K. Meghajit Singh, Secretary Manipur Legislative Assembly,  altogether eight representations — one each from eight MLAs have been submitted with a request for induction as members in the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 23, 2021.

They argued that the assembly constituencies they are representing comprise partly of hill area and they must be made members of the HAC.

The Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly issued another order on September 4, declaring that the memberships of eight MLAs in the Hill Areas Committee are hereby kept in abeyance until further order.

The order failed to clear the misgivings caused by the September 1 order which did not go down well with the tribal communities.

The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) had submitted a representation to Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh requesting to rescind the order.

The Kuki Inpi had reiterated its firm belief in peaceful coexistence in the state, and recognises that mutual respect among the different communities of each other’s political, constitutional and legal rights are the way forward.

Declaring the order issued by the Secretary of Manipur Legislative Assembly as undemocratic, the KIM said it will not stand the tests of constitutionality under Article 371C of the Constitution if the State Govt fails to consult the people living in the hills.

 “That, the nine Assembly constituencies notified by the Speaker of the Assembly are not from the districts or sub-divisions notified as ‘Hill Areas’ in the provisions of Article 371(c). But, they are from the valley districts which are all outside the Hill Areas notified in the First Schedule,” it said.

The KIM further said that the inclusion of nine assembly constituencies in the HAC is nothing but an attempt to interfere with and encroach into the functioning of the Hill Areas Committee.

 “Such an ill-thought and misleading order issued by the Secretary Manipur Legislative Assembly is an affront and assault on the people living in the Hill Areas with ill motives to continue and perpetuate the exploitation of the hill people and undermines the constitutional protections and safeguards given to the hill tribes under Article 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution, in relation to their land ownership systems and their culture,” it added.

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