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3 ULBs demand review of Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001

Nagaland News

Says will not allow/participate in municipal election process

Dimapur, March 10: Three Urban Local Bodies comprising of Association of Kohima Municipal Ward Panchayat (AKMWP), All Ward Union Mokokchung Town (AWUMT) and the Dimapur Urban Council Chairman Federation (DUCCF) has urged the Government of Nagaland to amend/review the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 with specific references to certain provisions/sections that “infringes upon Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India”.
The three associations apprised the Government that till the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 is reviewed/amended, the associations will not compromise and will not allow or participate in the election process of the municipality in the State.
In a representation to Nagaland Chief Minister, the three Urban Local Bodies suggested that the Government should activate the constituted committee in 2017 to amend/review the 20 years old Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 with specific reference to the “Tax on land & building” including the proposed 33% women reservation.
The association reiterated the memorandum submitted to the State Government on July 22, 2022 and September 19, 2022 and demanded amendment of the said Act which it claimed “infringes Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India” that gives special rights to the people of Nagaland.
However, if the Act is not rectified/amended it would set a precedent which would be detrimental to the rights of the Naga people as enshrined in the Indian Constitution, it said.
While acknowledging the reply of the Government of Nagaland on July28 seeking clarification for amendment of the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001, relating to “Which are the particular Sections, Clause(s) that infringes Article 371-A of the Constitution of India”, the Urban Local Bodies in the representation signed by AKMWP president, Thejao Sekhose, DUCCF president, Zasivikho Zakiesato and AWUMT president, Limanungsang stated that consequent upon receiving the reply, the 3 ULBs convened series of consultative meetings with various organizations, stakeholders and tribal bodies for opinions and suggestions.
While considering the Principal Act (Nagaland Municipal Act 2001), which infringes social, customary and traditional practices of the Nagas, the three bodies urged the Government of Nagaland for amendment/review of those Sections, Clause (s) of the said Act before ULB election is conducted.
The three ULBs sought the intervention of the State Chief Minister for specific directive for amendment/review of the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 by deleting Section 120 (1) (a) of the said Act referring to “A tax on land and building” and those provisions relating to ownership of land and building.
The three ULBs argued that while considering the certain provisions/sections provided under the Act, the Naga people who are the absolute owners of their land would become landless, which is an infringement to the protection guaranteed to the Naga people under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India.
They pointed out that the 3rd Amendment of Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 in 2016 with regard to “tax on land and building” as mentioned in Section 120 (4) & (5), Section 121 (1) (a), Section 143, 144, 145 & 182 (d) appears to have been quoted the word as “Omission” or “Omitted” are ambiguity and cryptic proposition and therefore, it has to be replaced/rectified by a word “deleted”.
The three ULBs also highlighted the fundamental principal of social justice as protected under Article 371-A of the Constitution of India and said it should be maintained on the dispensation of delivering justice to the Naga people.
The three ULBs further stated that the objectional points raised in the protest against the ULB election were linked to one another since all of them viz. land, taxation and women reservation are related to Article 371-A.
Stating that this provision and rights given to the Nagas in the Constitution of India are too powerful which others do not have, the three ULBs said the Municipal is not above the Constitution and any law passed should be in consonance with the Constitution.
They further stated that by introducing women’s political culture, which was never there in traditional Naga society, widens collective concerns over Article 371-A culminated in unrestrained violence during the protest.
For the Nagas, Article 371-A is related to both territory and the people, for Nagas the land and all resources belong to the people, it said adding, all resources including people and women and accordingly a law deciding on the political rights of the Naga women rest with the people.
“Article 371-A is a right granted to the Naga people that protects Naga tribes from colonial as well as the Indian system of taxation,” it said adding, “In other words, if the Naga people pay tax to the government then it implies, that the land belongs to the government whereas for the Nagas the land belongs to the people.”
The three ULBs further said if 15% tax is levied on the demarcated municipal are, there would be many people who would be deprived and lose their land & building and they would not be able to pay taxes.
(Page News Service)